Last year a red-bellied woodpecker couple made their home in a dead tree in the forest. A northern flicker couple checked in this year. The male can be identified by having mustache. It appeared that the male took the main responsibility of guarding the nest and hatching the eggs.
Every time I walk by, I whistle. The male sticks his head out and sometimes jumps to a nearby tree branch but quickly returns to the tree hole when the female flies back. The female carries food back home and shares with her husband inside the nest. When both birds are home, only the female is seen at the front entrance. One can easily tell who wears the pants in the house.
It was a wet day. I took a quick walk in the park to fulfill my duty as spark ranger. Unexpectedly, several folks came out to say hello. I guess rain cannot stop the party. I was greeted by several geese, two chipmunks, a green heron, a mallard duck, and the family of wood ducks. The geese and the ducks performed parades in the air, on the shore, and in the pond, respectively. I felt so flattered.
Outside the park, the Japanese maple and a flower of creeping woodsorrel caught my attention. I stared at them for quite a while. How could I just leave without taking pictures to tell the world how beautiful they are.
Several solitary sandpipers and killdeers came to visit, and enjoyed their breakfast near the north shore of the small pond. A robin stood by to watch them with curiosity.
An egret appeared next to the west shore of the large pond. It was constantly harassed by a herd of red-winged blackbirds. I was wondering if the black birds acted out of being territorial, like what the blue jays did to the owl a while ago. Finally the egret opened his mouth and screamed: "Enough is enough!". He was then left alone to move on. I gave the egret a thumbs up.
I went to Brightwood Park before 7 AM Sunday and found a few wood ducks settled in the bushes. The ducks did not appear to mind me taking their photographs, and I hope this is a sign of trust building.
While I was paying my full attention to the wood ducks, I heard a noise from my side. It was a rusty blackbird, seemingly trying to get my attention. The fellow appeared to be a little narcissistic. When it saw itself in the water, its eyesight was locked to the image. For a good 5 minutes or so, the bird would not leave the spot. It was like a replay of the fairy tale of the young prince, which I read in my childhood.
Blue jays have totally different characters. They have much healthier self-esteem, singing, dancing, and enjoying themselves whenever and wherever they can, alone or in groups.
A few geese were swimming in the large pond. Two of them approached me as if they were asking: "Did you bring coffee and bagel for us?" Others were having a good time eating and drinking from the pond, occasionally swimming or flying around.
Among the birds I observed last year, the blue jays were the dominant species.. They were highly territorial and forced the owls to terminate the lease on the famous tree hole. This year another species is taking over and are much milder and friendly: northern flickers. You can hear their sound like machine gun firing or like old Shanghai grandmas lecturing young children with no pause or break.
This morning I first saw a northern flicker standing by a hole on a tree. The bird looked around carefully and made sure no one (except me) was spying, and quickly entered the hole which apparently was its home.
I then headed toward the park entrance to finish my morning walk. All of a sudden I heard several birds making strange noises. It turned out to be a group of northern flickers partying on trees between the trail and Prospect Street. They seemed to have a lot of fun. Some of them were performing and spread their tails like outfits of gypsy dancers. Some others were playing hide-and-seek as if in an opera. A few would pair up and sing intervals. I did notice that some of them were dozing off, perhaps they got up too early because of peer pressure of going to the party.
For a while I saw northern flickers extending their wings and tails while they flew. But I was too slow to catch the pretty yellow color for picture-taking. This morning it seemed that my prayers were answered more than what I asked for. In addition to seeing the bird's beautiful color display of the feathers, there were multiple birds gathering on a stage right in front of me, opposite to the nature of these timid birds. They danced and sang new songs. What a special treat and a Sunday blessing!
I went to the park in the evening. It was past 7, and there was not much sunlight. My original thought was to take a quick walk around the pond and go home. Well, the park will never let you go that easily. There are always some objects too amusing to walk away from.
The first thing that caught my attention was a blue heron flying from the large pond to the small one. I stretched my camera to its limit to get an image of the big bird. What surprised me next was a wood duck coming along. It appears that with a big guy standing by, there was no reason for the usually very timid creature to fear. The heron opened its beak and sent a message around that nobody is allowed to touch his friend under his protection in his territory. The first wood duck then waved at his friend. Then the second wood duck came to join the party. Thanks to the heron that for the first time I was able to be so close to wood ducks. Regretfully, it was too dark to take pictures with good resolution.
I heard a noise in the bushes along the fence. It turned out to be a coyote. The fellow was apparently disappointed not being able to challenge the heron, and gave up his hunting. It moved fast and I could barely get a couple of pictures. I was glad, though, to see the healing of the skin disease he had when I last saw him about 3 weeks ago.
The blue heron was more colorful than the other ones I saw before. After we stared at each other for a while with no signs of hostility, this fellow seemed to take me as a friend, and said farewell before flying away.
After crossing the bridge over the dam, I heard the singing of frogs and spotted one. This is the first time I saw a frog here this year. The back of this frog looked like a mini-hippopotamus to me. The side view was more typical of a frog. I said a soft goodbye to the little friend and finished my last walk of April, 2022.
I am a frequent visitor of Brightwood Park and enjoy sharing my discoveries.
Brightwood Park is on the North end of Prospect Street. Go past Franklin School and look for the entrance on the left.