“Hey Bob, come look at all of these people down here staring at me.” says the redheaded woodpecker.
“Why are they all standing around on our dirt road? There shouldn’t be anything here but us and the cows.”
“Maybe there’s something in this hole that’s caught their attention.”
“They’re looking at you two, silly.” says the kestrel that was watching us from another pole.
“I thought they were looking for me.” says the bobwhite from behind the fence.
I went up to Hernando county, north of Tampa, to find the swallow tail kites. I also found a few other cool things. I finally got a decent sighting of a redheaded woodpecker in Florida. I saw one from far away in St. Petersburg earlier this spring. I’ve seen them several times in Atlanta. There were two on the dirt road hanging out on a utility pole. I heard they had nested earlier in the spring in another pole but we did not see any juveniles anywhere around. Several people were standing around watching the woodpeckers when we all noticed the kestrel watching us. Most of the kestrels on the wires were pretty skittish. They would take off flying if you stopped the car but this one just sat there for a few minutes watching.
I finally saw my first bobwhite in the wild. I’ve heard them several times at Circle B Bar Reserve calling but could never find them. This one was sitting back on an inside fence. I took the above shot from the car. I was afraid if I got out he would take off.
“What are you doing here lady?” said Whiskers, the squirrel.
Last December I had seen a redheaded woodpecker high up in the trees and I think it was a juvenile. It was dark and cloudy that day when I was at Oakland Cemetery so I only got a far away blurry shot of it. Since I was back in Atlanta for the 4th of July, I headed out to the cemetery with Hubby in hopes of finding it again. There were two there. One was high up in the trees and the other one came down and landed close by on a utility pole in front of me. They never got close to each other so I only have single shots of them. I wonder if they nest there. Was that juvenile I saw in December an offspring of the couple and maybe was born that summer? It would be pretty great if these fairly rare woodpeckers were nesting in downtown Atlanta.
It was worth braving the heat to find these birds. Oh yeah, there were also tons of robins at the cemetery. And about a million squirrels. I didn’t see any chipmunks though. We don’t have them in central Florida so it’s fun to see them when we visit Atlanta.
I had read on Bird Brains that a redheaded woodpecker had been spotted in a neighborhood in St. Petersburg. Hanging out near a vacant lot that used to be a school. Since it’s really close to where I work, I headed down there after work last week. I thought it might be a needle in a haystack thing but after looking for close to an hour, I found it.
It looks like he might be a juvenile since the red feathers on his head are not completely filled out. He was sitting high up in a palm tree right on the road. This is only the 2nd one I’ve seen and the first in Florida. My first sighting was in a cemetery in Atlanta.
You can see his beautiful redhead from the back.
As I was taking pictures, a nice gentleman walking his dog stopped and asked what was so interesting. I told him about the rare redheaded woodpecker. He looked at it and then walked a few feet away and came back and said “There’s another redheaded woodpecker over here.” I said “Yes, but that’s a red bellied woodpecker which is more common.” He said “But he has a redhead.” He looked at me like I was crazy.
After a while he flew off farther away into a tree. The sun was going down quickly so I left and headed home.
I want to thank Don Margeson for keeping tabs and posting the sighting on Bird Brains.