Pileated Woodpecker

“God has strewn our path with wonders and we certainly should not go through life with our eyes shut.”

~Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with patenting the first telephone

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Here you see a Pileated Woodpecker showing off her winter’s work.

Pileated Woodpeckers are the largest woodpecker in North America.  They feed on insects and berries.  It is not unusual for them to excavate deep into rotten wood to get at the nests of carpenter ants as is obvious in this photo.  When I first noticed this woodpecker on this tree, the hole was about the size of a dinner plate.   She has been a busy bird!

Open Your Eyes

Open your eyes that you may see
The beauty that around you lies,
The misty loveliness of the dawn,
The glowing colors of the skies;
The Child’s bright eager eyes of blue,
The gnarled and wrinkled face of age,
The bird with crimson on his wing
Whose spirit never knew a cage;
The roadsides blooming goldenrod
So brave through summer’s wind and heat,
The brook that rushes to the sea
With courage that naught may defeat.
Open your eyes that you may see
The wonder that around you lies;
It will enrich your every day
And make you glad and kind and wise.
~Emma Boge Whisenand, Open Your Eyes

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As a Minnesotan, I find the fact that the Great Egret is native to my state to be amazing.  Seriously!  This is a shot of an egret during mating season.  Doesn’t this bird look too exotic to be sitting on a branch in a local Minneapolis wetland?

According to allaboutbirds.org, the pristinely white Great Egret gets especially dressed up for the breeding season. A patch of skin on its face turns neon green, and long plumes grow from its back. Called aigrettes, those plumes were the bane of egrets in the late nineteenth century, when such adornments were prized for ladies’ hats.  I’m glad that tradition has gone out of style.

As a nature photographer, I count myself blessed whenever I open my eyes to see a sight such as this one!

Highland Bull

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Highland cattle are a Scottish cattle breed. They have long horns and long wavy coats that are coloured black, brindle, red, yellow, white, silver or dun, and they are often raised primarily for their meat. (Source: Wikipedia)

I came across this fine gentleman while driving on a back road in northern Minnesota.  Look at the length of his horns!  He has only to turn his head slightly to scratch his haunches.  I watched him do it, but the angle did not allow for a very good photo.  Maybe next time I can catch him with my camera?

During this busy holiday season, be sure to purposely pause and take notice of the wonder that is around you each and every day!