A close-in hike in the November fog would have been hardly memorable or even something to post on (same hike I do regularly to keep carbon cost as low as possible – a 10 minute drive from home), but one bird changed it all. The hike went from Willamette TH on Ridgeline to Blanton TH then up the hill and on to Baldy, and the return back up the hill then down to Willamette.
Sunrise came thru the trees surprisingly clear
At the start, the fog in the valley was thick
While taking a short bio-break off the trail, a flash of red caught my attention and then the camera’s lens
A Pileated Woodpecker (The Cornell Lab link). These are not REALLY uncommon birds, but they are fun to watch and surprisingly agile for a bird with an armored head. From Cornell, “The birds also use their long, barbed tongue to extract woodboring beetle larvae (which can be more than an inch long) or termites lying deep in the wood. When hammering into this soft wood, Pileated Woodpeckers use their long neck to pull far back from the tree, then make powerful strikes with their heavy bill, pulling with their feet to increase the strength of the blow. The sound is often audible as a heavy thunk, and large chips of wood collect on the ground below. Pileated Woodpeckers are monogamous and hold large territories; it’s rare to see more than two birds together at a time.”
After the 13 miles or so to the top a second time, the weather had changed, and the fog much thinner