Saturday, December 15, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • December 15

Pileated Woodpecker. There were two Pileateds drumming away in the woods behind the lodge today. This one was quite a ways into the woods from the trail. I took a well-used deer trail to try and minimize the amount of noise I made as I approached, though it was quite clear from other pictures where the bird was looking directly at me that I wasn't fooling anyone today!

Pileated Woodpecker. This may be the young female woodpecker I have photographed and described in the past. The lighting was subdued as it was cloudy and just minutes after sunrise, reducing the colorfulness of the scene. However, the iris appears the same brown as before.

White-tailed Deer. Regular hunting season for deer in this part of the state ended last Sunday, though bow and muzzleloading season continues until next Tuesday. The sounds of gunfire around the park were noticeably reduced, though not 100% gone. This group of half a dozen or so deer were initially on my side of the creek, but when I was fairly close they crossed over and continued on their journeys along the far bank. No antlers seen today.

White-tailed Deer. It was quite obvious that this particular deer had guard duty, as it kept a watch on me as the rest of the herd grazed and milled about. (Refer to the previous picture.) Its face and small ears made it seem like a rather young deer to have such a responsibility, though that may be just an illusion as it also appeared to be among the largest members of the herd.

Carolina Wren. I did not find my Winter Wren today, though this Carolina Wren was close enough that I could see its throat inflate as it made its "cheer" call. ("Cheer" as in a vague similarity to the word "cheer" and not because the bird sounds like it is at a football game.)

Carolina Wren. As it finishes up its "cheer" call here, you can see that the white feathers on its throat are sticking out rather than lying flat. Some birds open their bills wide when they sing or call, but other birds, like apparently this wren, only open up a modest way. Even so, a Carolina Wren is among the loudest birds you'll ever hear!

Northern Mockingbird. This bird has become rather reliable on the midmorning walk down the dirt road back to the parking lot. It seemed to be cleaning up the remaining Poison Ivy berries in the area today.