Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Red-headed Woodpecker #1

Red-headed Woodpecker, April 2009, NC

My move to NC in 2008 came with some big life changes. As I acclimated to my new life in the South East, a sensation apart from societal or cultural phenomena (though Southern accents did take some getting used to) emerged—a strong attraction for nature. Before in my life, I had not paid much attention to the wildlife around me, and much of my adult life was spent in cities. Yet now, surrounded by rustic splendor, I felt new stirrings in my heart for the woods and fields and I became curious about the creatures that lived there. This is not to say that where we live now is out in the country, but we are close, close enough that you can smell it in the air. Compelled by these forces, I longed to explore the paths and trails that were but a short distance from home, and the more I explored, the more I became entranced and enraptured.

Since I had shown a special partiality for birds, one day my husband handed me a book, a guide to birds of the Carolinas. I simply adored the photos, and because of my fervor, I quickly memorized most of the birds in its pages. One in particular attracted my eyes, the Red-headed Woodpecker. I really wanted to see this bird so bad. So every weekend that we could, we’d laced up our hiking boots (figuratively speaking, for we only had shoes), strap on our packs, and go walking through the woods and fields with our field guide at hand, near or far from home, with increasingly fleeting hopes to spot our elusive prey. But my hopes were not extinguished.

When the eventful meeting finally took place, it actually happened uneventfully. There was no hint of him around, no call in the air which we’d heard from a distance then skillfully tracked to its caller. Actually, the way it happened was quite a surprise, to both of us, but especially me, as you’ll soon see. We were walking along a trail circumnavigating a marsh, enjoying the sights and sounds, for many birds must have called the marsh “home,” and it was a pleasant sort of place. My surprise came when my husband, who rarely spots any bird before I do, called out from behind his binoculars, “Hey, it’s a Red-Headed Woodpecker!” I had no time to blush from embarrassment (after all, I had imagined myself spotting my bird), for I was much too excited that after months of searching one was flying before my eyes.


From that fateful day, when my husband first spotted the prize that makes my heart a-flutter, I journeyed often to the same spot, though sometimes further down the path to the marsh’s end to photograph and simply gaze and smile. I would see more and more Red-headed Woodpeckers as the weeks flew by, while spring gave way to summer, till finally the marsh residents (plus its most frequent visitor) were oppressed by its sticky heat. Soon my friends would fly away, but not before I had captured many of them in the photos I hope you enjoy as much as I did taking them, that spring when I first set eyes, and film, on the Red-headed Woodpecker.


  1. 青空に赤い頭のキツツキが可愛いね^^

  2. Elflowerさん、こんにちは♪
    前のブログを始める1週間ほど前にカメラを買ったので、当時はもうシャッターを押すのが楽しいとそれだけの理由でとんでもない写真までブログにたくさん載せていて今見ると大変お恥ずかしい限りです。写真が上手になったと言っていただけて素直に嬉しいです。でも底辺からのスタートだったので育ちがいがありましたね^^; まだまだ失敗の方が多い写真ばかりですが、野鳥の写真をこれからも楽しく撮っていきたいと思いますので、これからもどうぞよろしくお願いします。