Critters

He’s the tiniest thing, and soooo cute.

Today’s post is primarily pictures. That’s because three remarkable things happened last week. First, I was able to walk on the Windsor Locks Canal. As I mentioned on Saturday, for the past 10-12 years, about half of the canal path has been closed in order to protect a nesting pair of bald eagles who have been trying to add to the eagle population. Not only did this allow me to get the pictures of the CT Rail / Hartford Line train crossing the river, but it let me see the canal in spring. The Windsor Locks Canal is a very special waterway. Water flows through the canal – it’s not a stagnant body – and the water and the surrounding riverbanks support life. However, because the flow through the canal is metered and controlled, the life along the banks is not subject to the ravages of flood levels and rapid currents.

The second thing that happened is that we’ve had some new life in the neighborhood. I’ve shared umpteen pictures of squirrels, but we also have baby chipmunks and at least one baby bunny.

The third remarkable thing is that I saw and was able to photograph a Pileated Woodpecker. I’ve never seen one before, and I had no clue what kind of woodpecker it was. The Editor looked it up, and I have to agree with her assessment.

So, with that as the all-important backstory, I give you today’s gallery. I apologize that it’s a little larger than normal.


77 thoughts on “Critters

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  1. You know I love all these photos Dan! 🙂 There must be at least one of those turtles named Dweezer. Lol Or Cheryl. I love how they scatter if they are disturbed. It’s like watching synchronized swimmers hit the water. That’s a large woodpecker. We had them in our jungle ‘backyard’ in Quepos. The chipmunk is adorable. Squirrels….🙄 That trail by the locks looks like a wonderful place to walk. Lucky you! I hope you have no more impromptu snowstorms. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that we share our world with so much Urban Wildlife. It’s even better when we get to see it.
    And I’m sure I saw a ‘Cheryl’ in that bale of turtles. Maybe the one with the blog! hahaha. Great pictures Dan.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Love the woodpecker, Dan, beautiful! I don’t see too many woodpeckers here, although I know they are around as I can hear them on occasion – beating on some unfortunate tree.

    I’m glad you were able to walk the canal before the trees fully sprouted. I did some of that in April – walking areas that I usually don’t get to without the leafy trees. It’s interesting to see it all uncovered.

    As a child, my brother and I had two aquarium turtles – Yertle and Myrtle. I seem to remember letting them go into the wild at one point, but don’t remember why. I would rather see them as you did – sunning themselves out in nature, much like what we do after winter. ;-) Happy Monday, Dan!

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    1. I’ve heard woodpeckers, including one who still thinks there’s some tasty treat inside the vinyl corners of our porch. They had pecked there for years in search of something. I repaired that area many times and never found any bugs. I thought for sure after I installed vinyl siding that they would be gone, but no :(

      At least I got to see one.

      I like Yertle and Myrtle. I named the one trying to get high on the log Yertle. I guess he’s in charge.

      It’s been years since I’ve been on the canal this early. It’s so different without the heavy growth.

      Happy Monday!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Years ago, at another apartment, we had a woodpecker pounding on the wall next to the bedroom. The landlord patched a hole and attached a flag to the area – I guess hoping movement would keep Woody away. Not sure what happened after that, but I would guess he found another spot to peck at in the neighborhood.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This was the sweetest post. Dan, the photo of the squirrels inside your log area is adorable. And the baby bunny! Your family just keeps growing and growing. What does Maddie think of the bunnies?

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    1. When we take Maddie out at night, we walk in a direction away from the bunnies. She seems to understand that they need to eat. She never pulls toward them, even when we see them while walking in the park. She only wants to attack the ‘Theo’ cat and the walker lady.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. You took me away to my special place, Dan, the one where I go when I’m out in Nature. How I enjoyed your gallery! As for the Pileated Woodpecker I’ve never seen one with a red strip on its cheek. All Pileated WP I’ve seen have had the bright red feathers on their head. Great shots! When these birds are in motion when they are going after insects it is extremely difficult to get a clear shot in. Sorry to hear about your log rack but nature is what nature does. Consider yourself very fortunate to actually see the Pileated WP. I can count on my one hand when I’ve seen one. In fact, I’ve got pictures of one I haven’t shown yet, but because of the position I could only get his head. Congratulations on these pictures. OH it is heavenly to see Spring bloom!!

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    1. This is the first one I’ve ever seen. I took so many snaps, but its head was always a blur. I was happy with the one with its head back. I could have stayed and tried to get a better shot, but I had an impatient Irish Setter tethered to my arm. We have an old log rack that I think we can take some patches from. Time to get out the sewing awl. Well, after mom moves out ;-)

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      1. Take pride in those pictures you got, Dan. Capturing a woodpecker while in motion is so so not easy. I hope you get other chances to see the Pileated again. It’s such a thrill to see such a large bird, isn’t it? And thank you for respecting Nature as you do. Not many would wait until mom moved out. All they could see was the damage she did and nothing more. I so do respect you for how you treat animals.

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  6. Love those turtles on the log. And the woodpecker! Awesome! Baby bunnies and squirrels and chipmunks….all adorable…..but may not seem so adorable if you’re not able to contain them and the damage they can do.

    Like Maddie, I don’t even have to caution Murphy to leave the bunnies alone. She stops, looks, and then goes about her business. So cute to watch them looking at each other just as calm as can be.

    Good luck with your woodpile. Hope you don’t find you have a squirrel condo in there! Yikes.

    Really enjoyed these photos Dan.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

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    1. I think the three log racks have indeed become condos, Ginger. We’ve had chipmunks in them before, but never squirrels. I saw one squirrel taking leaves up into one log rack, and then more leaves up into another a few minutes later. I don’t know if he’s Bob the Builder or if he has more than one wife. One house, one wife is enough for me to maintain.

      The bunnies are the least destructive. They eat from the grass, and they live under my workshop.

      I was happy to see the woodpecker, but even happier to see him in the park and not pecking into the side of my house. We’ve had trouble before, but we’ve only ever heard them.

      Take care, Ginger and I hope you have a good week.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great shots, Dan, of all of the urban woodland creatures. I am glad you got to see the Pileated Woodpecker. They are amazing in size and can generate noise so loud that it sounds like a jackhammer. The first time I saw one was at a wildlife refuge though a window that overlooked some bird feeders. The Pileated Woodpecker came zooming in and hung from a suet feeder–I was sure that feeder was going to come down from the weight of the bird. In terms of the male’s red stripe, here is a posting that I did last year that shows a male’s cheek stripe pretty well. https://michaelqpowell.com/2019/04/10/peculiar-pileated-woodpecker/

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    1. Thanks for that link, Mike. Apparently I saw that post, but I didn’t remember. I guess we saw the female. She was working pretty hard on that tree, the jackhammer analogy is a good one. I was pretty excited seeing the turtles and the heron, I don’t usually see them. Then I saw the woodpecker and I was in heaven.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Dan – loved your new and old critters … those turtles – does the heron eat them? Amazing how the critters so much more happily come out when us two-leggeds are not around so much. Lovely photos – all the best – Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary. I had to look up “who eats turtles?” This is what I found,

      “A turtle’s predators depend on its species as well as its location. Common predators for the painted turtle and other land turtles include skunks, raccoons, gulls, foxes, ravens, weasels, crows, herons and other turtles, such as the snapping turtle, while sea turtle predators include killer whales and sharks.”

      So, I guess having the heron on that log is an uneasy feeling for those guys.

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    1. We used to have one pecking on the corner of our porch. I replaced the cedar with vinyl, but the kind that looks like shakes. He kept pecking for a few years. I never saw him, but I sure heard him.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Love your nature weekend especially the turtles, heron, and bunny. I always find it amusing when the turtles line up in SC and in some cases they sit right next to a small to medium sized alligator. Live and let live I guess. Nice way to start the week off, Dan. :-)

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  10. Oh, easy quiz! The turtle with the blog is the one with all the followers. We had a dead tree cut down right outside my office window, and I enjoy watching woodpeckers of all sorts out there, including a pileated one. Bunny babies are so cute! Daughter #4 has bunnies in her back yard; they ate her tomato seedlings down to the ground. She put bits of Irish Spring soap around the patch, and that keeps them away. So it looks like she can have bunnies AND tomatoes. Win/win! (except for tomato-hungry bunnies)

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  11. Yes, it sure is Spring. I appreciate you taking the time to let see all your pictures. I can’t remember the last time I saw a chipmunk!! ALL the babies are adorable, aren’t they?!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great captures Dan. We are seeing so much more wildlife these days too. Perhaps its because we are around so much … and seem to spend hours looking out our kitchen window at the bird feeder. We have a pair of pilated woodpeckers who enjoy our suet. They look quite prehistoric when in flight. Im hoping baby bunnies don’t return to our yard as we have a fox’s den close by. Mrs fox visits every morning and late afternoon. Today we got so excited to see an indigo bunting! Stay well and enjoy nature’s beauty Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Val. We get foxes in the neighborhood almost every year, but I haven’t seen any this year. I do love to see them. More of the little guys are surviving, given the greatly reduced traffic.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. When I was growing up, I usually swam at a public swimming pool located at a park three miles away. There was a canal that ran the length of the south side going beyond on both the west and east side. I would often walk the canal within the park just to enjoy the wild life and the calming effect if the quietude. Like the Windsor Locks Canal, it had a path running along it, at least within the park.

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  14. The baby chippy and bunny are adorable. Hum, that Great Blue Heron had a look on its face that made me think it was wondering if it could have Turtle for lunch.
    The Pileated Woodpecker is amazing! What a great sighting that was! I’ve never seen one.
    What a wonderful week of extraordinary wildlife sightings you had!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The babies are so cute. When I saw the heron and the turtles together, I thought “oooh what a great week” then, the next morning I saw Woody and he went straight to the top. I’ve never seen one before, either.

      Someone asked, and I did look it up, herons fo eat turtles. Maybe he wasn’t just dropping in to say hi.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I am not sure how or what you believe, so this story may seem absurd to you but I’ll tell you anyhow. In June 2018 my husband passed away and then in July 2019 my son died. This past February I took a drive to Florida to see my father. (By the way, I also live in CT). On one of the days I went to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia. That morning, as I had stayed at an Inn the night before, I laid in bed and said to my husband and son, “Will you just give me a sign that you are here with me, just so I know.” So I went to the cemetery and I was getting ready to leave when a bird flew over my head and landed on a tree in front of me. It was a pileated woodpecker. Now, I love birds and for the past 10 years I have been looking for a pileated woodpecker to photograph, as I had only seen it once.
    Just as I’m wondering if that woodpecker is my husband or son, a second one flies out of that tree! Two at one time in the same tree! If that isn’t a sign from my boys I don’t know what is.

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  16. I love these critter photos! Maybe there are more critters about because there’s less human activity? I know Mama squirrel appreciates having a safe place to raise her babies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Momma squirrel might like her home, but Momma Bear isn’t happy. I think eviction notices are soon forthcoming. We’ll wait until they’re able to move out, but that’s the rack that feeds next year’s fire, so…

      Liked by 1 person

  17. LOVING baby bunny! Those woodpeckers are majestic! My grandmother had them all the time at the lake, so they were one of the first birds I learned. The Mister saw his first one last October. He couldn’t believe how big.

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