I glimpsed something out my studio window a few moments ago, and when I focused on it, it turned out to be a spectacular pileated woodpecker.
I’ve never been this close to one before–he was on a tree in the front yard, maybe thirty feet away, so with my binoculars, I could see individual red strands in his crest being ruffled in the breeze. Really a gorgeous bird. Some fluff on his shoulders–can’t imagine he’d be a juvenile shedding down at this time of year, so maybe just some random feather molt getting picked up by the wind.
He scruffed around the tree for a bit, poking at the bark with his beak, climbing upward, occasionally stretching out a wing. No drumming, just random poking and shuffling around. Eventually he went behind another tree in my line of site and I moved to the master bathroom window where I had a better line onhim.
Kevin, who is home sick with the plague (he caught my plague, and piled an ear infection on top of it, poor bastard) came groggily into the bathroom, noticed his girlfriend plastered against the window with binoculars, and did not bat an eyelash.
"Pileated woodpecker! Possibly a juvenile…though I don’t think…"
"Ah…." He made use of the facilities.
"Sorry, I’m being rude." I turned away from the window. "Would you like a look?"
On the list of indignities that Kevin puts up with while living with me, being offered binoculars while peeing barely registers. "That’s okay," he said.
"He’s really spectacular."
He finished and went back to bed. I watched the woodpecker until he climbed out of sight in the tree–long leaf pine, I believe, surrounded by redbuds that are just starting to bud out–and then went back to work.
Stuff like this makes putting up with the ticks all worth it.