Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hairy Woodpecker Nest, Alexandria, VA

So, my birding buddy Renee and I, early in April at Loftridge Park, saw a Hairy Woodpecker and saw this hole nearby, which we thought might be a nest hole. (Click here for the earlier report.) She's been keeping an eye on it, and reported possible action at the hole. This morning I finally got to go back with her to the location.

Sure enough, a hairy woodpecker was active near the hole, make that high chipping call they make. We watched for awhile (her husband Matt joined us) and there was just a lot of calling but the hairy never went to the hole. So we went about 10 yards farther away and settled in. (Note: bring chairs next time. And beer.) Before too much longer, the male hairy started getting closer and closer to the hole, and finally, the female came out and the male went in! Carrying lunch. You can just barely see the caterpillar or bug in his bill. The top three pictures are of the male at the hole and then going into the nest.

Thrilled, we waited a bit longer, and eventually the female returned, came up to the nest and the male exited. Here she is waiting for him to leave. A great day! We'll keep you posted.

We started at Huntley Meadows, hoping to see the reported King Rail (nope!) but did see an American Bittern fly in.
It was a great morning for birding. Other birds seen today were (Renee, let me know what I've left out):

Huntley Meadows:
Great Blue Heron
American Bittern
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Blue-winged Teal
Solitary Sandpiper
Tree Swallow
Gray Catbird
American Robin
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird

Loftridge Park:
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Gray Catbird
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Jay
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Northern Cardinal
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LoieJ said...

How fun to get a good view like that. And with a friend!

We have hundreds of birds outside eating seeds (oil sunflower seeds) which DH threw onto the snow. Yes, another snow storm. Akkkk. There are lots of kinds of birds, including some which probably don't normally go for bird feed or feeders. We think that some of the birds are in mid-migration. I took a lot of pictures, but there isn't a good one in the bunch.

John said...

Cool find!

Betsy True said...


Wow, you've had a lot of snow! I shiver to think of it!