Not far from us the original developer of our 7 "villages" set aside some land for a Community Garden. I don't know what it looked like back in 1973 when it started, but nowadays it resembles Tobacco Road. I would never have thought to go this ugly, muddy area except a couple of years ago Greg tipped me off that it was a good place to find American Woodcocks. And why not? It is perfect habitat--an open area near water (the mud puddles) and brushy patches to hide in and forage during the day.
So for the last couple of years we've been going over there and getting our woodcock tick. Today was not exception but shades of Short-eared Owl if I didn't once again prove the rule that you have to give up on the bird before you'll find it. Just as on Monday, I was heading back to my car, figuring I was either too early by day or time when I heard my first "peent!" The call came from a wooded area across Schoolhouse Road. I cross the street and stood there, no call, turned my back and the bird was vocal again.
So I was happy and then I saw a bird fly in and land near a puddle. There was just enough light for me to see the woodcock clearly in my binoculars for a few seconds before it flew off into the gloaming.
Put that bird with our first of the year backyard Red-breasted Nuthatch and it was a very good day notwithstanding the root canal this morning.