Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Woodpecker Morning

I only wish I had brought my camera on my morning walk along beautiful Mason Road in Holden today.

The usual peace and tranquility was disturbed by a crew of workers who were rudely slashing down brush and what they perceived as nuisance trees along the road. I wasn't the only one who objected to their insensitivity. Not 20 yards from the tree cutters' saws, I heard the brash rat-tat-tat of an incensed woodpecker, who obviously disapproved of the carnage. I looked up and just above me, a beautiful Pileated Woodpecker pranced around the trunk of a deadened tree. I've been walking up and down this road for eight autumns now, and have never even glimpsed one of these proud, pointy, red, white, and black specimens before. I felt that the woodpecker had appeared to claim his territory, and to do his best to try to show the unwelcome intruders that they had trespassed on his turf. The more trees they savaged, the fewer there were to feed this insect seeker, and his kin.

Whether it was the disturbance of the loud machinery or just happenstance, I saw another furtive animal, a Fisher cat, just moments later, as it hurriedly crossed the road several feet in front of me, from one deeply wooded area to another. Tree-living Fishers have become abundant in the greater central Massachusetts area, and are notorious as vicious hunters of unwary domestic cats. I had never seen one before, but have frequently heard their blood-curdling screams in the woods behind my home, usually under cover of darkness.

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