[CT Birds] Rosa Hartman Park - Pileated Woodpecker and warblers

B Inskeep binskeep at optonline.net
Sun May 2 20:35:28 EDT 2010

5/2/10, 1-4 pm

Greetings to all,

The woods were quiet for the most part during what was planned to be a quick stop at Rosa Hartman Park (in Old Greenwich) this afternoon.  Fatigued and a little bothered by the heat and humidity, I decided to call it a day and was headed towards the car when suddenly a large bird flew up from the ground to around the opposite side of a tree (of course).  Thought is was a small hawk, but the wings were black.  Then looking through my binoculars, I realized it was a male Pileated Woodpecker that had by then crept around the trunk so I could see him.  That was the closest I've ever been and had outstanding views from all angles as the bird poked around an adjacent log on the ground, completely unobscured.  Absolutely stunning! Jaw-dropper...those birds are huge!  So perhaps not such a big deal around here, but...I once found a Lewis's Woodpecker that spent the "winter" a block away from my house in NW Phoenix.  Not as common and easy to locate as it seems a Pileated should be, but I saw him every day for three months and, here, hardly a Pileated even when looking in areas others have reported observing them.

So the excitement never ends.

It's amazing how such a big bird can slip away so easily, unnoticed.  When he moved farther off and out of sight, I tried to inch a little closer and not loose him, then heard him calling from the complete opposite direction.  So I followed hoping to see him again; no dice, but I did find a large, active flock of warblers way up in a group of (very tall) trees on a trail I hadn't walked this time around.  There I found a singing male Blackburnian Warbler, presumably the same one I had seen yesterday in the same area and time of day.  Also observed there and elsewhere in the park: Wood Thrush, Blue-winged Warbler, Northern Parula, B&W Warbler, Pine Warbler, many Myrtles, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, Orioles everywhere...

Persistence pays off; expect the unexpected.  Now if only the trees were shorter!

Brenda Inskeep

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