by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager. Photos by Ed Norman
When Dan informed be of the Red-headed Woodpecker sightings at Crow’s Nest Preserve, I decided to organize a field trip for Mariton’s Bird Club. We communicated through emails and organized the meeting places, etc. It all came together on Wednesday and we loaded up my mini-van for the trip. Dan graciously rearranged his schedule to guide us. Liz and Aubrey also joined us, giving us three Crow’s Nest educators for our group of 9.
(Check out the coloring of this immature Red-headed woodpecker.)
At the beginning or our walk we found an immature Red-headed Woodpecker in the company of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! I hadn’t seen this species in over 25 years, so this was quite a thrill for me (as it was for the rest of the group). Later on the walk we found a mature Red-headed Woodpecker and it was brilliant. The red on its head was just stunning. During the morning we also saw (or heard) other woodpeckers: Downy, Red-bellied, Flicker and Hairy Woodpecker.
(The coloring of this mature bird is spectacular.)
While the Red-heads were the main reason for the outing, we had an excellent bird morning. A mature Bald Eagle flew by fairly close, and an immature Bald Eagle was sighted. We also got a quick look at a Merlin darting though the woods. We saw lots of Bluebirds and Cedar Waxwings. We even saw a couple Swamp Sparrows.
While it might not be as glamorous, we saw a group of Rusty Blackbirds. This is another species that I haven’t seen in 25 years. It is one of those species that we could see in the winter, but their populations seems to be dwindling. The habitat along The Creek Trail at Crow’s Nest was ideal. I was delighted.
(One of the neat things about this species is that they cache food. Ed captured this bird with corn kernels stashed in the bark of this Shagbark Hickory.)
The trip was worth the price of admission. I personally can’t single out one specific thing that I would call my Price of Admission sighting – it was the whole package. I spent the day with a wonderful group of people, walking through great bird habitat, sharing knowledge, and then eating lunch with them in the beautiful visitor’s center. And thanks Ed for these wonderful photos!