Dec 26, 2011

Red-Headed Woodpecker

Originally uploaded by Snak Shak
I have notoriously bad luck chasing found birds. It seems that everybody and their brother is seeing snowy owls this winter and I have yet to find one. I went down to Point Douglas late last week to find the long-tailed duck and was skunked on that outing. So it goes...

Yesterday there was a post on MOUnet about red-headed woodpeckers in East Bethel, MN. Ever the optimist, I headed up there today to see what was to be seen. After all, even if the birds are not there, it was a chance to learn a new area and the chances are good that something else interesting will happen along, so it's never entirely a wasted day even if the bird being sought remains elusive.

After a few u-turns, we finally found the place we were looking for and headed out into very high winds. High wind like this is bad news - the birds hunker down and wait until things settle down before moving around, so often it's both very quiet and unpleasant to be outside.

With the deck stacked against us, we headed afield. I got a quick glimpse of one RHWO while I wondered around, but about 20 minutes later I hit the jackpot when I found one hiding out from the wind in his/her hole. The light was good, the bird was cooperative and we watched each other for about 10 minutes.

Sweet! We found one more RHWO moving around on the walk out of there. Birding is like fishing - you have just enough success to keep you coming back despite getting skunked a lot of the time.

More photos on Flickr (link to the right of this page).

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