"It appears our babies have flown the nest," she wrote; "however you can hear them and the parents communicating Women Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Vest Black Dublin from the trees on a regular basis. Occasionally we see one.

Kelly Schlaepfer sent a photo of son Kyle holding a seahorse he had scooped up in a pile of seaweed at Chic's Beach.

This is the first time the pileateds have nested in the tree snag, but a lot of holes indicate nesting activity in the past. An active red bellied woodpecker nest also is at the top.

Jim Lowe in Southall sent a close up of a wasp sipping water from his backyard fountain and another of a red belled water snake sunning on a branch at First Landing State Park. See it on my blog.

These big woodpeckers with the red crested heads are elusive giants of the forest. They are among the noisiest critters, too, and generally the big birds are more heard than seen.

"Now I feel like a proud mama," she said.

Nature lovers were lined up across from a tree hole nest, training their camera and binocular lenses on three youngpileated woodpeckers that were born this spring.

And she could tell that both birds were working hard. The male pileated has a red moustache and the female doesn't. Pretty soon the pair had carved out a "nice big oval hole," characteristic of pileated woodpeckers, she added.

The more that word got around about the delightful youngsters, the more folks came to watch and photograph them.

"They have no trouble sharing real estate," Kuhns said.

But this pair chose to hammer out a nest hole in a dead tree right on the edge of the woods across from the Hoffler Creek office, said Helen Kuhns, Hoffler Creek executive director.

´╗┐Baby woodpeckers create a fine spring spectacle

Most ospreys have chicks now. Katri Twiford photographed a male bringing fish to a female and young on a nest in Knotts Island. Woody Stevens snapped a photo of a little head in a nest in Thalia. An osprey appears to be feeding young in "my" nest in First Landing State Park, too.

Layne Brett in Birdneck Lake photographed a great blue heron with a big bullfrog sized frog that it proceeded to swallow.

IT WAS HARD to tell who was watching what more eagerly the other day at Hoffler Creek Wildlife Foundation and Preserve in Portsmouth.

"This has been on my bucket list of wildlife photography for a long time," Fearington said.

Chuck Baynard in Riverfront in Suffolk, sent a photo of a snapping turtle crossing the road, probably to lay her eggs in a flower bed somewhere. "Never seen a more prehistoric turtle," he said.

Was it the baby woodpeckers looking for their parents or the humans who came to look at the baby woodpeckers?

The eggs were laid about mid April. Kuhns worried a bit, because the activity slowed down so much. But when the youngsters were born sometime in early May, the hard working parents were at it again. The babies began making noisy grating, hissing sounds, demanding to be fed, and Kuhns rested easy.

Songbirds are predatory too. Renee Mixner in Larkspur watched a brown thrasher unearth a vole, stab it with his beak, spear it and carry it away!

But all good things must come to an end. The youngsters were getting big and strong and more persistent. By the end of the week, I got an email from Kuhns:

Black snakes are out and about this time of year. I had two different snakes on my porch on two consecutive days, and Mike Waller in Croatan sent a photo of a black snake crawling up a tree to eat robin eggs. The upset robin could not stop the snake, he said. That's the down side of black snakes.

The three youngsters were craning their heads out of the nest hole, probably oblivious to the humans, but waiting in anticipation for another insect from mom or dad.

Karla Williard in Birdneck Point sent a photo of a sweet baby red fox in her neighbor's yard. Lia and Rhett Russell sent a photo of mating black snakes stretched across her windowsill at her home in Dock Landing Pointe in Chesapeake. See both photos in Thursday Beacon's Close Encounters.

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Jane Massey in Norfolk was excited to photograph a tree full of cedar waxwings at her home.

When the babies began sticking their heads out of the nest hole, as if to say, "feed me, feed me," nature lovers began gathering. Tim Fearington of Chesapeake, with his super long camera lens, was the most regular.

"They worked on the nest for a couple of weeks," Kuhns said. "They were a pretty solid couple."