Sunday, April 2, 2017

The elusive red-cockaded woodpecker...




I spent all day Friday at Quilts & Lace in Melbourne with It's Sew Easy's Angela Wolf.

I really thought my shirt was prettier than that. It probably is, in person.
Oh, in case you can't tell. That's me on the left. Angela Wolf on the right.
Another lady in the class in the background, caught in an angry stare that is not her usual look, I'm sure.
She is just like you'd expect her to be from watching her on television or on her live Facebook posts. Super friendly and fun. And she's much more than just the instructor on It's Sew Easy. She's a fashion designer and she sells some of her best patterns! I bought three of them. (Of course I did.)

The class was sewing a skirt. As I don't wear skirts, I sat in on all the lessons, which were excellent and helpful, but saved the fabric for other projects. (I wasn't the only one, so don't say I was being petty or anything.) I did get to use the Brother Dream Machine 2 to embroider designs on the fabric. It was very cool.

I think they call it the Dream Machine because you can only afford it in your dreams.

Anyway, as an introvert, I had to recover from that day of being with (egad) people by eating a lot of chocolate on Saturday. So I baked a Krusteaz double chocolate muffin mix in a loaf pan and had at it.

Today, I'm still in recovery. Headache, puffy eyes, feeling like throwing myself in front of traffic but not enough to leave the house on my own to do it. But, hubs did take us out this morning to St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park in search of the supposedly rare (it pops up in my "rare bird" email alerts) red-cockaded woodpecker.

Here's the little sucker we're after:

Stolen from the Audubon Field Guide website

He's not red, is he? No. That's part of his disguise. We see that people are spotting them at the park, so today we decided we were going to find one for ourselves.

Apparently, they're seen mostly on the Yellow Trail, so we hiked it. We could hear a woodpecker off in the distance as soon as we started out, so spirits were high, to say the least. Unfortunately, we saw very little of anything out there.

It's scrub. Typical Florida. So, picture a lot of palm shrubs and some grasses, dotted with tall, spindly pines. Rarely an oak. You could see someone a hundred yards away if he was there, but we were alone.

We saw some flowers.




No idea what they are. Weeds, no doubt. But I like weeds.





You know you're not finding any birds when you find yourself taking pics of flowers. Oh, and trees.



Anyway, eventually we came to this sign:



Well, they're making it awfully easy, we thought. We're sure to see a red-cockaded woodpecker. And, as hubs learned on the Tubes, they paint certain trees with a ring of white. In those trees, they've pre-cut holes for the little peckerwoods.

Like this:



Alas and Alack. We saw no red-cockaded woodpeckers.

But we did see our very first owl! A great horned owl, pretty far away. But we have great zoom.
Here is his back: 



(That picture won't center and I'm too tired to make it.)

And here he is looking at us.



I think they always look angry. But we did try to get just a tad closer and he flew off.

On the way out of the park, in the car, we saw a raccoon!



I love raccoons! They're a lot like cats.

Anyway, here are a few more pics we took.

Mockingbird and kestrel.




A pine warbler.



Here's a funny looking pine tree:



Seriously, what's with the needles?

We got some great pictures on Saturday at the Viera Wetlands. But I'll only post one here because I don't think anyone wants to look at too many pictures. I forgot to make a mid-week post of pics from last weekend there. Oh, well.

Anyway, hubs came across this tiny snake in the road and I got some pics. We were standing right in front of a car (its occupants were photographing a bird) so we carefully encouraged him out of the road when we were finished. (I can't tell you how upsetting it is to see squashed caterpillars. I don't even want to think about a squashed snake.)

Here he is, the cutey.




All right, that's enough blogging for today. The red-cockaded woodpecker remains a goal. I have to say, I much prefer walking the Viera Wetlands, filled with birds and wildlife, than the St. Sebastian Park. It was dead by comparison. I'm spoiled, I suppose.





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