The temperature was in the 70s, bright sunshine warmed my cheeks as I walked, and the grass has turned suddenly green. The feeling of spring was heightened by all the grey wet weather we’ve had. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I returned to the Pearl Brook State Park in Townsend , Mass., to take a short walk around. I walked up to the top of a small ridge to look down at pools of clear water formed by Pearl Brook, now overflowing with the rain of the past month.

The water was so clear, that even at that height and distance I could make out a few brook trout here and there, darting around.

This was mid-afternoon so there wasn’t a lot of bird activity. But from a distance came a steady, solitary tapping. A few weeks ago, in that same area, I heard the call of a Pileated woodpecker, but wasn’t able to spot him. This one I found, but it turned out to be a small Downy woodpecker, high up in a bare tree, maybe an oak of some sort.

Every once in a while he’d stop, look down at me, shift to another part of the branch he was on, and start again. He obviously had things to do and I moved on.

I added him to this year’s bird list, which now stands at 21 for the year. I’m going to try to spend some time this month looking out for some of the more elusive migrants that pass through here.

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