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Tuesday, March 29, 2016





Tuesday, 8:45 AM.  33 degrees F at the ferry dock, 32 on the back porch.  Wind W, calm at present.   The sky is clear, the humidity 85%.  The barometer is falling precipitously, now at 30.64", predicting unsettled weather tomorrow.
   Being wakeful last night about 1:00 AM, I was sitting looking out the window towards  the eastern horizon when the three-quarter waning moon rose over Madeline Island.  It was a gorgeous light peachy color.  It must have been reflecting the oblique rays and coloration of Tuesday's sun, still further east by at least five hours from the Bayfield sunrise.
   Bayfield has a significant population of pileated woodpeckers, the largest of the North American woodpecker clan.  Buddy and I often hear them on our walks, drilling holes in decaying trees to extract grubs, or drumming on trees and other objects to define their territory.  Their depredations look terrible, but insect grubs, which the birds are after, have already done the major damage to the trees, and in nature the excavations of the woodpeckers provide nesting holes for many different animals and birds.  Folks often blame the woodpeckers for damaging the trees, but in reality the damage has already been done by injury, decay and insects.
  The pileated woodpecker is quite a large bird, roughly the size of a crow, and is very obvious in flight, with an undulating flight pattern and a distinct, laugh-like call.  They are not difficult to observe (at least hereabouts) and photograph, if they are present, and if one has even a modicum of patience.
   The natural habitat of pileated woodpeckers are the deciduous and coniferous forests of eastern North America and around the Great Lakes.  The larger ivory-billed woodpecker of the southern forests of North America is quite probably extinct.

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