Joe Coleman sent over a great report from when he was out doing his Bird Atlas survey on Friday. Here’s his story of Wood Ducks, and more:
I found a pair of WOOD DUCKS standing and walking on limbs in a stand of large white oaks this morning while driving to one of my atlas block areas. I was heading down Ebenezer Church Rd, about a mile from my house, when I saw two odd shapes on a large & old White Oak limb about 25-30 feet above the ground. After stopping, pulling over, & putting my binoculars on the birds I realized the shapes were a male and female Wood Duck.
They were walking, if that’s really the right word, back & forth, on this very large horizontal limb, occasionally hopping to neighboring limbs. The female then flew to a very large cavity about 30 feet above the ground in a neighboring White Oak and spent some time looking in it. The male joined her and both looked into the cavity from several different angles.
Reaching for my camera I realized it was at home on the kitchen counter where I’d left it in hopes of catching a couple good photos of the RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS that have been visiting my feeders this week. After about 10 minutes the two Wood Ducks flew back further into the woods when a pick-up truck drove by me.
However, right after they left a Fox Squirrel ran up one of the neighboring White Oaks. From that location I drove to Foggy Bottom Rd and walked northwest on it near from where it intersects with Austin Grove Rd. About 8:30 am I heard an EASTERN SCREECH OWL whinnying that just wouldn’t stop; while it sounded like it was at least 100 yards off the road I’ve found that they’re often much closer than it seems. This was about a mile from where Laura Weidner and I found both a Screech Owl and a Barred Owl about a week ago.
While standing there listening to the screech owl I started hearing RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS behind me. At that point a COOPER’S HAWK flew into the area where the Red-headed Woodpeckers were and everything shut right up while the Cooper’s Hawk rapidly vocalized, kih, kih, kih, before flying away. One RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET was also singing its entire repertoire, something I rarely hear.