A woman was standing in the lane, craning her neck. In the tall, half-dead trees far overhead, something was making an awful racket; repeated machine-gun drumrolls a few seconds apart. A woodpecker.
We examined every branch, every tree. After a while, Laurie joined us. There was nothing there, but the drumming; no sign of a bird, it seemed. Finally, 'way up at the tip of a thin snag, a bump moved. Laurie got a tiny photo. (We must invest in a telescopic lens one of these days.) How does such a small bird, on such a tiny stick, make such a noise?
Another passerby discovered the second bird, a bit lower down, but still almost invisible. All I could see with the naked eye was a slight bump on the snag.
I think it's a flicker. It's hard to tell when you're looking from the bottom up.
Later, coming back to the car, we found this
It hung around, scrabbling through the duff quite tamely, for a while. We shot umpteen photos, but only in this one was it recognizable; mostly, it blended so well into the background, that the camera couldn't find it to focus. Half the time, I couldn't see it until it moved, even though it was only a few feet away.
And down on the beach, all the birds, hundreds of them, made sure they kept far away from us, and against the afternoon sun.
*After examining all the sparrows in the book, comparing it to this one, we've settled on a Lincoln's, blown off course. We could be wrong.