Pileated Woodpecker and red viburnum
Wednesday, August 15 2012
location: southwest corner of Lake Edward, Fulton County, New York
Gretchen took a kayak out to the swampy inlet at the southwestern most extreme of Lake Edward (across the lake from the house we were renting) and disappeared into a small isolated pool of open water completely surrounded with three-foot-high vegetation (43.114369N, 74.3681W). She brought a notebook with her in case poetry ideas came to her while she was out; the kayak had a handy place on its rear dorsal surface to strap it.
Later I went out in a kayak and visited that same place, finding it full of ducks and one angry Blue Heron. I stopped and watched the heron for awhile, hoping it would stay, but it eventually grew tired of the staring game and flew off to one of the several logs whose ends poke up above the surface of the lake (some of these are free- floating and others are mired in the lake bottom at their lower ends).
On the other side of the bay from the Swampy Inlet, beyond Swampy Inlet Island, I heard a Pileated Woodpecker flamboyantly cackling and pecking at trees along the shoreline (43.114299N, 74.364867W), so I paddled over to get a better look. After I snuck in closely, I could see the woodpecker clambering like an awkward squirrel in a tall viburnum shrub, appearing to use his wings as arms. Evidently he was trying to eat the bright red viburnum berries. Aftert he flew off, I paddled over and tasted one of these berries for myself. It had a sweet flavor that finished with an unpleasant bitter note.
Back at our place, Gretchen and I grilled veggie burgers and other things (red onions and pita bread) using the gas grill that had been provided with our house. Being vegetarian, we don't often make use of a grill, but we still managed to make another delightful meal. Later we watched two episodes of Mad Men.
Gretchen in a kayak today.
Our rental house, viewed from the lake. You can see one of its two garages on the right.
Swampy Inlet Island, Lake Edward.
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