I spent all of yesterday writing a couple of deadlined columns and keeping an eye on the storm situation. Except for a few 90-second trips onto the deck to check on the river level, I never went outside. Nevertheless, I managed to log, and even photograph, a new bird to the list of riverbank visitors.
Ohio has six year-around resident species of woodpeckers—pileated, red-headed, yellow-shafted flicker, red-bellied, downy, and hairy. (Arguably, you could also include the yellow-bellied sapsucker, though most of these birds simply pass through during migration to their breeding grounds in northern deciduous forests. Only a handful hang around for nesting, and almost never in this southwestern corner of the state—though a few might overwinter hereabouts. The state's Division of Wildlife lists the bird as "endangered.")
Of the half-dozen species, all but one, the red-headed, are common year-around visitors along the riverbank. In fact, I see the other five woodpeckers almost daily. However, until yesterday, since moving to this riverside cottage almost seven years ago, I'd never spotted a single red-headed woodpecker in the trees along the stream, or hanging around any of the seed or suet feeders—though they're not particularly uncommon throughout the rural farmlands a few miles to the west. So I was momentarily flabbergasted when I looked out my workroom window and saw this handsome red-headed woodpecker investigating the box elder near the front door. It was drizzling at the time, the light dim, and I had to shoot at an oblique angle through a glass that badly needs cleaning, hand-holding my 70-300mm zoom—so the photo isn't all that good. But a moment after I recorded this image, the bird flew off across the river to the island, and that was the end of my photo-op. I'm glad I got what I did.
That makes it a banner bird week here…first, my annual grosbeak showed up (here) for a good long look, and yesterday a red-headed woodpecker. Wow!