My Husband Rick and I had a lovely hike yesterday that was brimming with wonderful surprises. A sprinkling of glorious autumn leaves were dancing on the cool breeze traveling through the park. Cackling high in a Short Leaf Pine was a male Red-Bellied Woodpecker. Rapidly moving from Tree to Tree we could barely make out the striking red marking on the back of his head.
I stopped because a familiar odor filled the air, looking around I could not see the creator and we continued hiking. A few minutes later three Whitetail Deer bound across the trail so quickly I was unable get a clear photograph as they vanished into the Forest. In a park where they are protected it is strange that they always act as if it is hunting season. We often see Deer in groups of 3 and I wonder if this is normal Doe herd size.
We decided to hike around to the far size of North Mountain to try and catch up with the 3 Deer. Normally this strategy would be a wasted effort, but not yesterday. After hiking half an hour we reached the trail head of the Upper Dogwood Trail below the North Mountain overlook. Lovely bird song echoed from distant Trees as we moved along the trail. Suddenly both Rick and I stopped, staring at us in the distance was a tiny creature standing in the middle of the trail. I wasn’t sure who was looking back at us until I looked through my zoom lens. The tiniest Whitetail Doe either of us had ever seen stood still with its head cocked in curiosity. Hiding on bank to our left were the two other does that made up the trio we had seen earlier. As soon as we took a few steps closer they all gracefully bounded up and over the ridge out of our view. It was a beautiful moment in the cool autumn Forest.
Further along the trail another wonderful surprise, high above us a Woodpecker was foraging for a meal. A spectacular male Northern Flicker was performing acrobatic feats on a large gnarled limb. The first Flicker I would document in Hot Springs National Park. Now that I know where he is nesting I will drop by again in hopes of another viewing.
As we left the park a soft beeping sound in the distance leads us to a small male Downy Woodpecker hopping up a Tree. The cool weather and leafless Trees revealed a gorgeous array of Woodpeckers in the Forest. It was a perfect hike with my beloved husband Rick.
Much Love to ALL!