Easy pickings

Why spend all day drilling holes in dead trees in search of hidden larvae, when you can stop in at the friendly neighborhood all-you-can-eat suet buffet? Watershed Post reader Barbara Small got this fantastic closeup of a woodpecker near her house in Margaretville last week.

The Catskill Mountains are home to several different species of woodpecker, including that jaunty, noisy Woody Woodpecker-looking species, the pileated woodpecker.

The one in this photo looks to us like a male hairy woodpecker, Picoides villosus -- a dead ringer for the very similar downy woodpecker, except for its larger bill. The Bedford Audubon Society has some tips on telling the two look-alike species apart:

The Downy’s bill is always shorter then the length of its head. When foraging on a tree branch, the Downy seems to place its head on a 45-degree angle to the branch. Another good field mark used in order to tell the two apart is the presence of black barring on the outer white tail feathers of the Downy.