This is my 300th blog post-quite a milestone, I guess. The first post was on Monday, February 5th, 2012, 1502 days ago. That works out to a bit over 1 post every 5 days, not the most prolific writer or photographer, maybe, but a pretty good pace for someone who has a job and a family and a couple of other time consuming hobbies. For every post I probably put in 10 hours of hiking or kayaking or driving around taking pictures which, if you think about it, is a couple a hundred bucks it cost me per post in time lost not being at work, gas used, camera equipment bought, and WordPress site and domain fees paid, trips to Colorado, Missouri, North Texas and the Gulf Coast, not to mention wear and tear on my truck and time and money spent cleaning it up after some of the muddier runs. All in all, a pretty expensive hobby. It’s worth every penny, I hope to do it until I die. I’ve never made a dime writing or taking pictures, but the pleasure I get from birding, and hiking, and paddling, and driving around the country alone, and with my wife and kids, visiting family and friends is immeasurable.
So, I went to Missouri this week to see if I could see a Pileated Woodpecker. I told my wife and kids that it was to visit my family there, to take a family vacation, etc., but it was really to see the bird. I’ve been travelling to Missouri yearly for the last 3 years in the hope of seeing one, it’s a fairly common bird for the southwest corner of Missouri where they live and there is even a resident PIWO in the woods behind their house, but he’s not been very cooperative and I hadn’t seen or heard him until this year.
It was dark by the time we got there, but bright and early the next morning I was out on the patio with my coffee, binoculars and camera, scanning the woods for any sign of him. I hadn’t been there 10 minutes when I heard a loud, fairly slow drumming from the woods across the yard, followed by the Woody Woodpecker laugh, and there he was in a dead tree top about 50 meters away. It was overcast and early, so the light wasn’t the best, but I got good enough photo to prove that I had seen him, so I was happy.
My wife came out a few minutes after he had flown off. I told her we could go home now, but she made me stay a few more days. I heard him drumming a few more times while we were there but never caught sight of him again.