Continuing the theme of our Arboretum Big Year (ArBY) we have found the number of species thus far since January one to be fewer than anticipated but we have certainly had some star performers. A noted here a week or so ago we began the year with a Barred Owl (absent today but not for lack of numerous long-lensed photographers combing the forest) and today we added – to our great surprise and delight – a Red-bellied Woodpecker,

This fine fellow appeared in a tree immediately to the west of Chalet Pruche where he played hide-and-seek behind the trunk for a few minutes before flying off in the direction of the quarry. That’s two winters in succession that these birds have been in the arboretum. Last winter we know we had a pair and possibly a third – very much a rarity one wonders if the milder weather is allowing them to stay and push their area northwards.

On the way out we paused to admire a Red-tailed Hawk who gave us a fine aerial display and allowed some photographs to be taken.  This is one of the two birds I wrote about a few days ago whom I pass on the way to work each morning – a fine way to start any working day.

So all in all, while the ArBY is off to a slowish start it is filled with quality so far. Retirement in three years and when I can really get the numbers up.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker taking off for the quarry and showing - for once - the "disitinctive" red belly that gives him his name.

Red-bellied Woodpecker taking off for the quarry and showing - for once - the "disitinctive" red belly that gives him his name.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Followed by a couple of dead common birds that we just happen to like …

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