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

About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and runner
This entry was posted in Nature and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Surprise

  1. zirah1 says:

    Always great pics and text. Let’s us feel like we’ve been on a nature walk with you. Especially love the mist rising over the lake. Lovely!

  2. Sarah says:

    Hi Zirah 🙂
    Thanks for visiting and your kind thoughts! I am happy to have you along on my walks. 🙂 This is the first time I have lived within a reasonable distance of a relatively large body of water and I find it fascinating to watch: the sunrise, the fog, the reflections, and the birds that call it home or a temporary home. I went over there yesterday morning. It was cloudy and chilly. I still enjoyed my walk and saw something interesting which will be in a post later on this fall or winter.

  3. Jet Eliot says:

    It’s always a treat to find a pileated. Lovely post, Sarah~~

    • Sarah says:

      Hi 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kind words! 🙂 This was only the second time that I remember seeing a pileated woodpecker. I saw one in a nearby tree last year at this time so I was on the look out. 🙂 They are huge! He was so intent on his foraging that he didn’t even pause when I walked up. He might have thought he was the hiding in plain sight and the branches were enough of a barrier between him and me. I was happy that he stayed there for a while so I could watch him. 🙂

  4. Shady_Grady says:

    The woodpecker pic is so cool.

  5. Shady_Grady says:

    I also like the fog at dawn picture.

  6. Those woodpeckers are wonderful. A bit similar to ours in Europe with the colour but look a bit bigger. We have the greater spotted and the lesser. Glad you found a cardinal too, love those. Yes, it’s good to take a walk with you in a far off land!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kind thoughts! It is fun to have you join me on my walk. 🙂 I was excited to see the pileated woodpecker. I had been looking for one since I saw one not far away from there last year. According to the bird book I have, this area is either just on or a little past the western edge of their range. It is rare for me to see one. And unlike most of the other birds, he was fine with me being about five feet away on the other side of the tree branches. I kept expecting him to give me a look and fly away. 🙂 I guess he was too hungry! I saw a couple of cardinals last night. They are pretty birds. The two last night were in the brambles at the park on the lake at sunset. It was too dark for photos, but nice to see them peering out at me through the branches. 🙂

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