I found something new and interesting while I was on my way down my favorite walkway to the fishing platform. I wanted to relax and watch the lake for awhile before I resumed my little hike of the day. My short rest was going to have to wait, because something good caught my attention.
I was halfway down the wooden path to the platform, when I heard something very interesting. It was the same rapid knocking sounds that I've been hearing a lot lately in this forest. The difference this time was that the knocking sound was very close to me.
I knew what the sound was because of the handy signs all through this nature preserve. It was the sound of a Downy Woodpecker, and as I said, it was very close. I stopped and began to scan the trees to my right. I saw it after about twenty seconds, halfway up one of the closest trees.
There it was perched on a small branch just pecking away at it! This was very good for me, because I've never seen a woodpecker before. I've heard them for many years, and I knew they were in this forest, but I had no idea what one might look like.
I looked at the signs in the park already, but I didn't pay very much attention to the bird on it. It didn't matter until I actually got to see one anyway. At first, when I saw the bird I didn't know what it was, because it took a second to understand just what I was seeing.
It took me only a split second though to match the pecking motion it was making with the name of woodpecker. It's amazing how fast they move when they peck at a tree looking for their latest meal. The pictures I have here were taken as the bird was in mid peck. They're a little dark, but you can still get a good look.
The downy woodpecker is the smallest and the most common kind of woodpecker in North America. An adult male is marked with a patch of red on the top of it's head. The female is black and gray. The male also seems to keep the best feeding areas for itself. It will chase females away if they try to share these spots.
I'll share more information about these woodpeckers in the weeks to come, as I'm sure I'll see more of them. There are too many of them to miss for very long, and this one seemed unconcerned that I was there. I think I'll be able to get more pictures of these birds without any problems. I'm looking forward to seeing more of them!