Rare Red-bellied Woodpecker

I have had a busy day today.  I got up early as my wife had an appointment for some medical work before her annual checkup.  Then we went to the bird blind this morning to clean up the place a bit in preparation for the visit Saturday from the Abilene, Texas, Audubon Club.  We decided to make a quick run to Spring Creek Park to check things out.  We figured that with some chores that we had to do tomorrow, this would be our last chance for the week.

We saw several of the usual birds, including an Osprey that I will tell you about in tomorrow’s post.  But I am bursting with the news that today we saw a Red-bellied Woodpecker, (Melanerpes carolinus).  For San Angelo, it is a very rare bird, not historically known for making stopovers here.  It was not a lifer for me, as I had seen one before in Tennessee and Michigan, but nevertheless it was still a thrill to see and photograph it.

Whenever we go birding, Ann reports our findings to E-Bird at The Cornell Lab of Ornithological Society.  They keep tabs on such unusual sightings.  The bird posed perfectly for me, too.  You can click on the image to see an enlargement.

Exposure info:  Canon EOS 7D with 500mm f4 lens and 1.4 tele-converter.  1/1000 sec. @ f7.1, +0.7EV, ISO 640.  Hand-held from window of my car.