One thing that attracted us to our current neighborhood is its proximity to Johnson T. Janes Park, a city wildlife preserve not yet fully open to the public. The trails are being developed but are not yet ready for much human access, but the area wildlife seems happy. One of my regular walking routes takes me along a one-block street that runs between two preserved areas, and today brought some unusual wildlife.
There were of course the usual suspects--hordes of starlings, groups of robins, chickadees flitting everywhere--but what caught my eye was a swift-flying black and white bird larger than the mockingbird I at first thought it was. It vanished into the trees, so I wandered along the first few yards of a soon-to-be-opened trail, hoping to see it. Of course, I was immediately distracted by the interesting bark of a cluster of shagbark hickories and soon forgot the mystery bird. When movement caught my eye, it proved to be a handsome red-bellied woodpecker working its way up a tall snag. Not the mystery bird, but one I don't see every day.
Heading toward home, I heard an unfamiliar alarm call that proved to be a mockingbird. Then came an unmistakable sound: the Woody-the-Woodpecker laugh of a pileated woodpecker. Glancing up, I saw my mystery bird swooping across the street, and this time, the red crest was visible. I had my second sighting of a pileated woodpecker--and a few moments later, another, as a second elegant pileated winged from tree to tree.
A good day in the neighborhood.