I got to watch an adult female pileated woodpecker feed for about 30 minutes, at close range. You could actually see it listening, or seeming to, before it tore into the dead tree it was feeding on. It would turn its head sideways and pause and then hammer at a certain spot. It would stop and pause again in the same pose, and hammer again. If it was a human, it would have been listening. I understand they can actually hear beetles moving inside the tree. Sure enough, when it left I went and examined the tree and each two or three inch-deep hole ended in an insect tunnel. These tunnels were about a half inch in diameter - pretty big grubs or beetles or whatever. The woodpecker also seemed to flick its tongue at the tree trunk over and over, as though it might be picking up something small off of the surface of the tree, but when I looked I couldn’t see any small insects or anything else that looked edible.
A big tug went by pushing three very big “rock” barges. It’s unusual to see that kind of traffic on this river, almost all of it goes through Whiskey Bay because that’s what it’s there for. This particular tow was here because there is a rock yard (remember when they were shell yards?) up near I10.
Several times a year you see a big buoy that has gone adrift and comes down the river. This is one that passed by in the current today. The iris is blooming now in the yard, it was a gift last year from friends who live on Bayou Manchac.
And grosbecs are calling in the early evening. Memories of them fifty years ago, and rice, and gravy, and some French bread and real butter – so they tell me, anyway.
The river is at 11.5 on the Butte La Rose gauge, falling to 9.4 by Sunday. The Ohio and Mississippi, the mother and father of waters, are relaxing in their beds and show no inclination to exert themselves as yet.
Rise and Shine, Jim