Nemesis bird nailed

Two more species for the year list on our patch – Cedar Waxwing (#33) and Red-bellied Woodpecker (#34).

I don’t know how many times I have seen the rare (eBird designation) Red-bellied Woodpeckers in the arboretum in previous years. I may even have been the first person to see them in mid-winter several years ago and have been tracking their behaviour and the spread of their offspring into surrounding territory ever since. We have even had them in our garden but since the new year and the start of my 2014 patch list it seems that everyone else has seen them except us … despite making heaven knows how many visits there specifically to find them. We had spent almost 90 minutes in their territory this morning without a sign – plenty of other woodpeckers, though – and were resignedly thinking of going home to warm up and have some coffee when, clear as a bell, two loud rolling ‘churr’ calls rang out. A few minutes anxious scanning of the densely twiggy trees and a finally we had him nailed right at the very top of the tallest sugar maple.

Huge sighs of relief – finally we can spend time elsewhere between now and migration!

The second new bird for the year was a group of some ten or so Cedar Waxwings who were hanging put in a tree with a large flock of American Robins.

In general this was a very Woodpeckerish morning. Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers were all over the place and we had three Pileated Woodpeckers – two of them working together on an old dead snag. Lots of drumming coming from all corners of the forest. People get so excited to see a Pileated, and indeed they are big and magnificent birds, but they are almost ten a penny in the arboretum … probably because it is such a large area of forest but also because they have a policy of leaving dead trees in the forest and not being too tidy, thereby providing plenty of opportunity for food for the birds that get their food from those sorts of places.

Plenty of White-breasted Nuthatches as usual, Chickadees, one Red-breasted Nuthatch, Cardinals and so on. The usual guys,

So, on to the photographs. Big pictures of the two stars of the show and then a short gallery of others that you can enter by clicking on any of the smaller thumbnails.


Red-bellied Woodpecker (male)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (male)


Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing






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