Home from the Pancake Breakfast at the Dwight Winter Carnival, I scooped up Taffy the puppy and we headed out for a walk. (we are currently doing a LOT of walks... some of them at 4.30 a.m., but I digress)
She has a loop she just adores -- down to the lake by Springside cottage, then back through the BMD Parkway trail that crosses the creek through the swamp, and loops back to the pond. This is a route that is thick with the tracks of squirrels, mice, rabbits of assorted sizes, deer, and birds. The scent must be glorious for a dog, because the puppy has her nose constantly shoved down into the snow for deep inhalations.
I almost always carry a camera when I go outside now. There is always something going on. This morning, I forgot. Blame the pancakes... in my maple syrup induced haze, I left the camera in my other jacket pocket.
Which was a shame, because along with all the animal tracks along the way, we found a pair of pileated woodpeckers, right at the edge of the trail, busily working on two separate holes in the same tree. We were only about 20 feet away from them, and what a photo it would have made.
Could have, should have, would have... I came back, grabbed camera, and returned. Birds still there? Check. Would they stay on the tree as I approached a second time? No.
I got other photos, and one of the woodpecker just across the road (waiting I'm sure for me to leave so he could come back to his project!)
These are incredible birds. I've posted about them before -- they are among my favourites, and they are quite commonly seen around Bondi. Their loud rat-a-tat can be heard from a long way off -- and if you've ever wondered why they don't fall from the trees with concussion from pounding their heads into hard wood, it's because they are magic... Or at least so incredibly well designed. Not just the feathers that act to brace them, but the bone structure, the beak itself and their phenomenal woodpecker's tongue help do the trick. This tongue actually exits the back of the skull, wraps over the cranium, and acts as a cushion -- ensuring that not only is there some shock absorption at work, but that when a woodpecker has something on his mind, more than likely, it's his tongue!