Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More from Jones State Forest

After leaving all the activity at the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers' nest on Saturday, I only had to turn around to find another nesting pair.

Red-headed Woodpecker - 5/30/2009
Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)

The Red-headed Woodpeckers were every bit as active as their endangered cousins, and I got several good looks at both adult birds as they flew to and from their nest cavity. As soon as one would complete a few trips, the other would fly out to begin a new round of foraging, leaving room for the first parent to enter the nest and take over babysitting duties.

Red-headed Woodpeckers - 5/30/2009

After watching these birds for a short while, I gave up my prime viewing spot to another birder who had joined me and headed deeper into the pine forest. The trail was lined in several places with wildflowers of all sorts. I can only imagine how beautiful the area must have looked a month ago when the spring flowers were in full bloom.

Wildflowers Wildflower Wild Iris Wildflower Black-eyed Susan

A volunteer organization has placed a number of bluebird nestboxes around the area, and I saw at least three that are in use.

Eastern Bluebird - 5/30/2009
Eastern Bluebird female (Sialia sialis)

The woods were full of life, from the cawing of crows and the happy calls of cardinals, mockingbirds and pine warblers to the fluttering of a myriad of butterflies and dragonflies.

Dragonfly - 5/30/2009

And while I didn't see any of the other woodpecker species that normally summer in the area, like the Downy and the Red-bellied woodpeckers, the nesting Red-cockadeds and the abundance of Red-headed Woodpeckers that were all over the park were more than enough to satisfy my woodpecker cravings.

Red-headed Woodpecker - 5/30/2009

All in all, a fantastic morning of birding to kick off the summer season!


dAwN said...

Great photos of the Red headed! Actually all the photos are beautiful!

Kelly said...! love those Red-headed Woodpecker shots. They are fantastic. Action and poses...lucky you to see both species in such close proximity!

Kyle said...

Dawn & Kelly: Thanks! Yeah, I really did get lucky that morning. The skies were clear, the sun was still coming up so the heat hadn't kicked in yet, and ALL the birds were active.

DaveABirding said...

Impressive once again.

forestal said...

fantastic shots. Nice looking bird, never saw one before myself

Christopher said...

Now I know that you are expecting to see a comment from me on this post. Spectacular pics of one of my favorite birds in these United States. You are quite lucky to have an "abundance of Red-headed Woodpeckers" Y'all have a spare room to harbor a woodpedcker lover if I make my way there?
Really Kyle - another great post!!

Sanna said...

Wonderful photos you have here. =)

Kyle said...

Dave, forestal & Sanna: Thanks for the comments and the visits!

Christopher: Well, we don't have an extra bedroom, but if you don't mind sharing a queen-size inflatable mattress with the cats then you're welcome any time!

Lynne said...

I couldn't help myself. Although I typed on the first post that I'd be back, I scrolled down and am in bird heaven. These shots are wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Ah, the Red-heads. I haven't seen one in years. They are really quite rare here. People travel for miles to see one. Yet you have such luck with finding them.