Surprise

A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

Tap, tap, tap, … tap, tap, tap, … I was following a cardinal when I saw him. He was partly hidden behind the tree branches on the edge of the woods. The red feathers on his head were unmistakable as they flashed back and forth.

At dawn, I watched the fog collect on the surface of the lake. A pair greater yellowlegs waded in the pond. The resident downy woodpecker was busy in the bramble. I was surprised to see a Lincoln’s sparrow out in the open on the fence around the bison and the elk enclosure. I heard a cardinal chirping and wandered after him along the edge of the woods until we came upon the hungry woodpecker.

The pileated woodpeckers are about 17 inches long which is more than twice the size of the downy woodpeckers (6 1/2 inches). This area is on the very western edge of their range.

Fog at dawn on Saylorville Lake in Jester Park, October 22, 2016.

Fog at dawn on Saylorville Lake in Jester Park, October 22, 2016.

A pair of greater yellow legs in a pond near Saylorville Lake at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A pair of greater yellow legs in a pond near Saylorville Lake at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A male downy woodpecker in the bramble near Saylorville Lake at Jester Park, October 22, 2016.

A male downy woodpecker in the bramble near Saylorville Lake at Jester Park, October 22, 2016.

A male downy woodpecker in the bramble near Saylorville Lake at Jester Park, October 22, 2016.

A male downy woodpecker in the bramble near Saylorville Lake at Jester Park, October 22, 2016.

A Lincoln's sparrow on the fence around the bison and elk enclosure at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A Lincoln’s sparrow on the fence around the bison and elk enclosure at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A northern cardinal in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2106.

A northern cardinal in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2106.

A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

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A male pileated woodpecker in the woods at Jester Park, Iowa, October 22, 2016.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Sarah

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