Drama in the Woods

A high-pitched chirp caught my attention the moment we entered the park. We’d come to Stratford for a meal out and decided to check up on the swans. Ric found a bench by the river, while I wandered in search of the source of the incessant note.

It seemed to be coming from a clump of trees surrounding a still body of water. Thick foliage blocked much of my view, as did the light of the late day sun. A mallard couple swam in the mucky water and grackles flit in and out of trees.

Low on energy, I didn’t wander far before heading back to the car. Just before the parking lot, I noted movement across the pond, high atop a scrag. As I focused my lens to capture what appeared to be a nest, a bird flitted in front of it.

Hard to tell in this light what I was seeing, but it soon became clear that the bird was the source of the noise that had captured my attention. I shuffled around the pond for a closer look, but the bird became even more agitated, so I backed off, finding refuge behind a tree and waiting. Soon, the culprit re-emerged.

A hairy woodpecker!

It wouldn’t be until later, when we reviewed our photos, that we would piece together the story. Seems a squirrel decided to nap at the top of the scrag. Ric’s photos revealed that just below where the animal was resting was the woodpecker’s nest. Momma was looking out for her babies.

Nature’s drama is so much more interesting than T.V.!

(All photos from personal collection.)

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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