Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Picture of a Lifetime

I have always loved the outdoors. I like sitting in a wooded area and just listen. Nine years I was given the opportunity to enjoy every bit of the outdoors, not just in the summer but all year round. I enjoy fishing on the Ausable River, taking a canoe out and fish, dragging a chain to slow us down and give the other canoers the chance to pass us by.

Going up north is something I look forward to, espacially the weekends that give us an extra day. We have deer in the winter along with an ocassional rabbit maybe a fox. In the summer we have the squirrels, chipmunks that see how much they can steal from the bird feeders without getting caught. The birds around our place at first were just the Black-capped Chickadee and the Red-breasted Nuthatch; along with the Blue Jays and the Downy Woodpecker.

Last year we had a visit from a bird that I never saw before and when it reappeared this year I learned what it was. The bird was a Great Crested Flycatcher. This bird shows up aroung early May and then the female makes her appearance. Male and female take turns guarding their nest and are very defensive. They don't stay in the area too long, just time enough to have their babies. Unfortunately we haven't timed that part right yet, being there when their young take flight.

Another bird that I spotted early this year had very unusual color and markings, so when he appeared in my flower pot over the Labor Day weekend I couldn't help but snap his picture.

This is a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, the male unlike the Great Crested Flycatcher male does not share in the duties of nest-building or incubating duties because of his bright colors he attracts predators.
Other birds that were captured over the Labor Day Weekend were the Blue Jay, the White-breasted Nuthatch and the Downy Woodpecker.

But the "Picture of a Lifetime" is that of the Pileated Woodpecker.

The first time I ever saw a Pileated Woodpecker was three years ago and I was standing in the kitchen having a conversation when something caught the corner of my eye. I couldn't believe my eyes, this object going around the tree was so big and it's feet weren't touching the ground. Everyone I told about this bird just couldn't believe that a bird could be as big I read they could be. This bird ranges from 16" to 19.5" from the top of his head to the tip of his tail, his wing-span is approximately 29". When flying overhead he has a white line that runs down the center of his wings. He is a very nervous bird, the slightest move will cause him to take flight. So to get a picture of this bird you really need to have your camera ready and be prepared to travel until he lands again.

Well that's my story and I can guarantee this won't be the last time I try to get a picture of this wonderful bird.

Oh yeah! By the way here's my "Picture of a Lifetime".

Til the next posting, pat