05 April, 2022

Still Hung Up on Red

Back in January while walking the dogs along a path that passes through the site where a little eco resort used to be, I heard a vigorous tap, tap, tapping from up in a dead tree.  Searching in the tree canopy,  I was able to spot a flash of red and saw a lineated woodpecker busily working on what I thought might be a nest hole.  It was too obscured by foliage to get a photo, but you can see that the chips had been flying!

Wood chips on the ground.
I walk the dogs this way a couple of times a week and heard the woodpecker at work on several more occasions, with more chips collecting on the ground.  Then nothing - not another speck of wood, not a sound - until early March.  In March I saw and heard lineated woodpeckers making a grand commotion whenever I would pass by with one of the dogs.  I assumed they had an active nest and were busy with their young.  Finally on March 24th I saw this:
Two little woodpecker heads sticking out of the nest hole!
And a little later that morning when walking dog number 2, I saw a little woodpecker on the other side of the tree.  So there are at least two woodpecker chicks, maybe three.
Search for the spot of the red crest.
They are not easy to see with the phone camera images when they are up so high, but they made lots of noise and some odd almost purring sounds.  They looked ready to leave the nest and sure enough, there was no sign of them after that day.  I think I saw them as they were getting ready to fly.   It was a real treat to see that the parents had successfully raised their young.

In other red news, the tomatoes are coming in fast and furious.  The bags are keeping would-be tomato eaters away long enough for the fruits to ripen on the vine.  There is nothing like a just picked ripe tomato with a little sprinkle of salt.
Tomatoes and salad greens fresh from the garden.
Too many tomatoes to eat, so I made some quick sauce that I will freeze for later.  
Two pints of tomato sauce.  
More red-on-the-wing in the form of a butterly.
Finally, a variable cattleheart butterfly sat still long enough for me to get a decent shot of it.  Look at those ruby red spots along its body.
And the final bit of red for today's post is the flower of the prickly pear cactus.  Some species of Opuntia develop fruits that are large enough to eat, but ours don't get much past this stage.  The hummingbirds and butterflies love this flower.
Prickly pear flower
That's all the red for now.  Wishing you a colorful day.


  1. That was a great find (those woodpecker) Wilma.

    1. I was so excited, Roy! I saw them again today on trees next to the nest tree.

  2. Beautiful reds!
    I googled "lineated" woodpeckers and I think they are related to our Pileated woodpeckers. Such beautiful birds! I've never seen the young.
    Now- how on earth do you get your tomatoes to ripen before all of your greens bolt and go to seed? I cannot for the life of me do that!

    1. They do look very much like pileated woodpeckers, Mary. They aren't quite as large, but are still an impressive size.
      We can start our tomatoes very early here; the timing has more to do with rainfall than temps. And we have the greens in containers up on the veranda in the shade where it is a little cooler. Some are starting to bolt now and the arugula has become pretty peppery. We'll see the last of them soon.

  3. Love the woodpecker chicks! I don't think I've ever seen baby (or even young) woodpeckers.

    1. I don't think I ever seen their chicks before either - it was very exciting to me! As I mentioned to Roy, I saw them again this morning in trees near the nest tree.

  4. It's wonderful to have this kind of intimate contact with the lives of Lineated Woodpeckers. I remember them well!

    1. I was watching one the other day for hours as it feasted at an arboreal termite nest. Could have been one of the parents!

  5. Well spotted with the Woodpecker activity. Love the photo of the nest hole.


Blog Readers -- your comments are invited. I would love to hear from you.