Tuesday, 13 December 2011

High River Red-bellied Woodpecker

With only a handful of sightings and a single official provincial record, this report, originally by Peter Maksymiw, was a big deal for me.  I booked a morning off work and drove down to High River at dawn.  It wasn't hard to find the bird because:

  1. It has a very distinctive call
  2. Red-headed birds show up well in the snow with no leaves on the trees
  3. There was another birder already in the park who said "look, it's over there"!
If anyone is going to look for themselves, it's in George Lane Park in High River - you can click on the location link at the top of this post for a map.  For the entire time I was there it was periodically visiting the feeder at 506 4th St (which is right on the park) and then caching food (and occasionally feeding) in the trees in that area of the park.  All of this information has already been posted on Albertabird.  Anyway, here are some photos from the morning - click on any image to enlarge.

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus, caching what I assume is a peanut

An entirely accidental flight shot included only because the white patch on the wing is a useful identification mark

Another tree, another cache?
Since the bird is caching food and has apparently been in the area since October, there is probably no rush to get there - but try telling that to me at seven o'clock this morning!

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