The loud hammering sound had gone on a long time before I got up to investigate. I knew it was a woodpecker from the noise. I’ll admit I’m a bit vague on where flickers end and woodpeckers begin, so if it’s
scooting around a tree and hammering his head, I call them “woodpecker.”In fact, this one was shaped like a ladder-back woodpecker.
When this one scooted around the tree, I was surprised. It wasn’t the black-and-white stripe with the red head that I expected. The bird was pale, almost white. There were some faint darker-white markings on her.
She was busy drilling several holes in my palm stump–a tree that was
topped by a micro-burst about 12 feet from the ground, and that we’ve left standing. The holes were round and neatly chisled. I grabbed my camera, and the result is the not-great picture on the right. The bird is visible in front of the pink flowers, on the left side of the tree. She’s been back every day for a week, and I’ve seen her mate, which allowed the definite identification of a ladder-back.
I watched the bird for maybe two minutes. She had a dark eye, beak and feet, but the rest of her look liked I’d washed him in hot water with too much bleach. Not a shred of distinct color on her.
Also in the backyard, our oranges are starting to move from green to orange, and a few lemons are ready to go. The first tomato is blooming. And yes, it is early November.
–Quinn McDonald is a life- and creativity coach, trainer and workshop leader. Her work is in clear business communication and personal writing, including journals.