All apologies to Cinnamon, the rabbit who normally rules this blogsite, but I must tell you about a game Chet Baker and I have been playing this winter. It's called Moving Scooby-Doo. Scooby-Doo is a small basketball, long since deflated by Chet's sharp teeth, that Chet moves a little farther out the meadow every time we walk the Loop. The game started in the yard, when Chet decided to bring Scooby along on a walk. He lost interest after a few yards, though, and there Scoob lay on the meadow path, forgotten until the next walk. Most times, Chet remembers to pick Scoob up and haul him a little farther along the trail, but sometimes, like today, I have to remind him to do it. He seems to get the joke. He gives Scoob a wicked shake and romps about a hundred feet down the trail with it. My goal (I can't really speak for Chet) is to have Scooby go all the way around the Loop and make it back to the house by springtime. In this photo, you can barely see the house in the upper left corner. We've come a long way, but as the hike takes 45 minutes, we've got a ways to go. Notice the buck rub on the little Charlie Brown Christmas pine right behind Chet?
Today was enchanted. I got great looks at five pileated woodpeckers, and heard two more, for a grand total of seven encounters. Two birds flew over the north studio windows, as another pair foraged just outside in the dogwoods, pecking ice off the frozen fruit, then downing entire clusters of four or five fruits in one gulp. I watched them from inside, not moving a muscle, reveling in their beauty. On our walk, Chet and I saw another pileated flapping from tree to tree down in the Chute. Two more were calling at different points along the Loop trail. I've no way of knowing how many birds these sightings represent, but it's possible that there were seven different birds--they're common here. Thinking about it, I realized that it's much easier to see a pileated woodpecker on our land than it is a red-belllied or hairy woodpecker. Crazy but true. How blessed we are to have this noble creature in our midst, not endangered, not back from the brink, but present, visible, treasured.