Monday, July 6, 2009

Picures or It Didn't Happen and How I Love the Redheads

If you're not familiar with the phrase "pictures or it didn't happen" you're easily forgiven. It's an annoying little meme but I find myself, whenever I have my camera in hand and a "special" bird comes on the scene feeling I need to document it. I guess it's my way of mentally inviting people along on my hikes and letting them judge my ability to identify a rarely-seen bird. Well, yesterday my co-conspirator and I had an amazing chance to observe Yellow-billed Cuckoos (Coccyzus americanus)apparently feeding a fledged juvenile and I'm happy to say the photos are lousy. What is not lousy, however is the clear image burned into my memory of one of the adults flying overhead (more than once!) showing its pure white underside and striking rufous primaries. You'll have to settle for this bad image of Junior and Mom or Dad making the takeoff.

In part two of our weekend of memorable birds--man, it's great to get out of town once in a while--I have a woodpecker to share. The Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)is declining in numbers over much of its range. About a million years ago, when I was a kid on the farm (yes, barefoot) these were commonly seen on the wooden telephone poles that lined our unpaved road (did I mention the bare feet?) and because of their unique coloration were one of the first birds I learned to recognize. Last year I glimpsed one flying over the highway as I was leaving the city and it was then I realized I couldn't remember seeing one in decades. Today CC and I stopped at a restored oak savanna and saw at least a couple of them flying around. We also heard a Bobwhite Quail calling but didn't see it. But here's the woodpecker, a picture to prove it happened.

2 Responses:

CraigR said...

Two rare-ish birds within 24 hours in the same county! And I was there as your witness! CC

Gallicissa said...

I can understand your childhood fascination about that beautiful woodpecker. Its got a smart casual look to it.