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Adventures at Big Timber Division April 28, 2010

Posted by Wapello Warbler in Louisa County, Nature, pictures.
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The Beautiful and Vivacious One loves geocaching. I prefer watching the birds. Recently, we set out to do a little of both at Flaming Prairie Park in northeast Louisa County. The gate was closed because of high water, so we went a little farther down the road to the Upper Big Timber division of the Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge.

It turned out to be a great evening for both of us.

The BVO started off in search of accessible caches. I had intended to accompany her, but we’d gone less than 100 paces before we both realized I wasn’t going to get much farther. Within that short distance, I’d seen five Red-headed Woodpeckers fly across the levee that separated the park from the refuge. I was also hearing a lot of unfamiliar bird calls.

I sent the BVO on alone and got to work with my binoculars and camera. I spent the next hour watching the woodpeckers and trying to spot the birds that were producing the unfamiliar calls.

This bird appeared to be actively nesting. A short while after I took this picture, he or she flew to a large, bare trunk with a several large round holes in it and began giving a very different call. As I watched, she stuck her head in a hole several times, flew away, and then returned to the same hole.

I was surprised at the variety of different vocalizations that the woodpeckers were producing. Several times I tracked an unfamiliar call, only to discover another woodpecker.

I also saw a score or more ducks of various varieties making their way to a well-hidden marsh for the night and could hear geese honking softly out of sight. Two Great Blue Herons passed overhead in the opposite direction.

It was a busy and happy hour, but it’s a good thing I sent the BVO on without me. She was able to bag several geocaches, but I never got more than a quarter mile from my truck.

P.S. There’s another Full Moon Paddle April 30th. See the Naturally Louisa website for details.

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