Friday was a lovely (if a bit chilly) late fall day, and I decided it was high time for a woods walk. (How has it been over a month since my last walk in the woods? Not cool! I was feeling some serious woods withdrawal.)
I ventured out to the Bent of the River Audubon sanctuary, where I had a couple of absolutely lovely visits this past summer. The fields are now brown, and the trees are mostly bare, but this place remains wonderful and welcoming.
There were creatures all over the place, but I'll just skip right to my favorite. Pileated Woodpecker!
OK, Pileated Woodpecker butt. Let's try again. Pileated Woodpecker!
:) I think Pileated Woodpeckers are one of the best things around, and I so often see them only as flashes of big black and white wings or hear them hammering in the distance. This lady and I kept crossing paths during my walk, and I'm very glad she decided to stay and work on this tree fairly close to me on our last meeting! This is the first time I've been able to watch one of these awesome creatures for any length of time and at anything resembling closeness. I love her black and white stripes, of course, and that brilliant red crest, but now I have other things to admire, too, like the scale-like pattern on her belly, and the small yellow spot at the base of her beak.
I couldn't very well just walk away with such a (relatively) cooperative Pileated Woodpecker right there, so here are a couple of videos of the lady at work. She has quite the powerful stroke with that beak!
While I was watching this woodpecker, a big Gray Squirrel came ambling down a tree a few feet away from me and looked at me curiously:
On another part of my walk, I came across this rather zealous Eastern Chipmunk:
Birds were foraging all over, too, including a couple of funny little Brown Creepers:
And the fields were filled with sparrows. Hello, handsome Song Sparrow:
There's a lot of gray and brown out there right now, and many cool things to see. I'm definitely adding Bent of the River to my more-frequently-visit list!