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Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Wednesday, 8:00 AM.  54 degrees F at the ferry dock, 50 on the back porch.  Wind ESE, calm with stronger gusts.  The sky is cloudy and overcast, the humidity 97%.  It is still drizzling lightly, after an earlier trace of rain.  The barometer is still falling, now standing at 29.91", predicting more rain, followed by snow as a cold front moves in.  It looks like winter will soon begin in earnest.
   To continue the saga of the bird feeder: the second species to appear at the feeders (actually the first at the suet log) was this male downy woodpecker.  Much more shy than the chickadees, he kept mostly on the opposite side of the suet log from me and the camera, but eventually crept into a position where I could snap a photo.
   The smallest of the woodpeckers, the downy woodpecker is an almost exact miniature of the much larger hairy woodpecker ("downy" and "hairy" refer to and respectively describe their bristly beak feathers).  These species also stay the winter, and appear often at the suet log.
   The downy is about 6" long, the hairy a couple of inches longer.  Both species have a white stripe down their back.  The downy has a ladder of black feathers on its otherwise white tail.  The beak of the hairy is longer in relation to its head than that of the downy.  The males of both species have a patch of red feathers on the back of their heads, distinguishing them from the females.
   We'll have to see which of "the usual suspects" show up next.

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