Saturday, January 08, 2005

Tail of Two Woodpeckers

"That's a woodpecker!", and Don was right. Yep, diving off a branch of a tall pine tree the little peckerwood soared into the forest leaving us with an image of his white-feathered butt, a sure sign of a woodpecker.

Then Don made a big mistake. Instead of just letting the image of a woodpecker in flight linger in our minds as we adjusted our backpacks, he went on. It's a big mistake to "go on." I do it all the time.

Don said, "I think it was a yellow-footed hooked snout Marmastat woodpecker."

"Ya think?", I said encouragingly, "whoop-de-doo. Looked like a two-winged in-the-air getting-the-Hell-out-of-Dodge woodpecker to me. I don't think that's the Scientific Name, though."

And that, so I thought, was that on the woodpecker front for the rest of the day. As usual, like "going on" I was wrong and I would have to nail that pesky little peckerwood down later.

But, for now, the hike.

We took the Scouts up to Lake Houston State Park for a training hike. Not a big deal, just 5 miles or so along Peach Creek, so named because the water is sort of, well, peach-colored. I guess Rust Creek didn't have quite the same marketing appeal.

So, where's the food, you ask? Right here at lunch. The adults try to outdo each other with exotic lunch fare and today was no exception. I may have held an edge with kippers as a starter followed by black beans and couscous. My trail mix included cashews, dried mango and pineapple. Larry nearly topped that with a wedge of Mexican cotija but he lost points for the packet of Star Kist Tuna. Sorry, Charlie, tuna doesn't trump kippers for the exotic lunch.

The woodpecker returns.

Back in the parking lot after the hike, Don has obviously been ruminating about the woodpecker and offers this: I think, in retrospect, that it was a pileated woodpecker and, in fact, I'm sure of it. He walked off satisfied.

I, on the other hand, couldn't resist. I'm not so sure, Don, because they migrate from Mexico usually in December. To see one here now, a month following the main migration, I think it might be a belated woodpecker.

I did not hang around for a response.