Last evening I had a close encounter with a pileated woodpecker, the smaller and less white version of the Ivory-billed woodpecker. I was out walking Dog before it got too dark to see and had just turned into my driveway when a large, crow-sized bird flew just a few feet past my right shoulder and landed in a tree about 15 feet away and about 10 feet up. The sighting is odd for a couple of reasons. Pileated woodpeckers are usually kind of shy and are most often seen flying away from me. This one, a female, flew right by me and then landed close to where I was standing. Dog was even closer. The bird didn’t act shy. I don’t know if she had a nest nearby or was just unconcerned. She looked down at us, as though surprised to find us there. Eventually, she flew to the next tree and then flew past the cabin and deeper into the woods. I think it was my closest non-binoculared view ever of a pileated.
I also saw a brood of 11-12 tiny wild turkey—the first brood I’ve seen at Roundtop. They ran across the road in front of me, half going across the road with mom, the other half staying on the other side. I heard them peeping and mom clucking. I just hope they all got back together again after I passed. For several years a tom turkey has been strutting his stuff and calling on the mountain. He’s kind of a weird bird. I’ve seen him up in the north parking lot strutting around, tail all fanned out, with no one and nothing around. I’ve seen him display his tail when a car drives by. This spring I heard him gobbling all over the mountain, but this is the first evidence I’ve seen that he’s gotten lucky.
Deer are starting to drop their fawns, as well. My dad saw a tiny fawn stumble and wobble across the road in front of their farm this weekend. I’ve been seeing a few skinny doe standing around where I don’t expect to see deer. This morning Baby Dog and I saw one along Roundtop’s service road. So she probably has a fawn in that tangle somewhere too.