Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Victoria - Mystic finale

It was the last day and after a morning spent shopping and looking around Victoria, there was just one piece of unfinished business - could I catch up with the elusive Pileated Woodpecker?

Having heard one in Mystic Vale the previous Tuesday, I was dropped off with 90 minutes to spare. A quick walk alcross the meadow and then down into the vale - a real atmospheric habitat with tall canopy of Douglas Firs.

After a few minutes, a steady unmistakeable clunk clunk clunk was heard - here we go!! Pileated Woodpeckers are roughly Crow size so you can't miss them and then - there was one, a female - at last!!!! Tongue busy extracting grubs from the wood....

Flying down to the ground, there was more movement and I suddenly realised I had a pair! The male with spledid malar stripe.

The male proceeded to set to work on an old section of log. The power of these birds is simply awesome - in just fifteen minutes a huge hole had been excavated and whatever was lurking inside (they simply adore carpenter ants) consigned to the Peckers stomach!

I reckon even if armed with a hammer and chisel, I would have struggled to keep up with the destructive power of this formidable bird.

Mission truly accomplished, a brief stop at a small pond on the way home had one final 'ahh' sequence in store.

Farewell to Mr and Mrs Hooded Merganser

But pride of place here, went to a courting Wood Duck pair - how cute is this!!

Final additions and tally:

Mute Swan (Withey's lagoon)
Pileated Woodpecker