Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pic of the Day

    Life is interesting and full of surprises.  I like the good surprises, the bad ones, not so much.  Yesterday afternoon I needed to get out of the house.  So, I loaded the camera gear and headed to Guntersville Dam Recreation Area (north side).
     When I arrived I stopped at a small creek and listened for Prothonotary Warblers, but I didn’t hear one.  After the brief stop I dove further along and passed a small pond.   As I passed the pond I thought to myself  that I should stop and see if there were any Red-headed Woodpecker around.  I had seen red-headeds around the pond pretty regularly in years past, but not so often in the last couple of years.  I decide I would check on my way out.  That way I could pull off and shoot out of the driver’s window if there were birds there.

Red-headed Woodpecker,  Melanerpes erythrocephalus:
Guntersville Dam Recreation Area near New Hope, Alabama

     I drove on to the picnic area where I knew there was a colony of Brown-headed Nuthatches, thinking I might take a few photos of them.  On the way I spotted a couple of people I knew so I stopped to say hello.   Within a few minutes I was on my way.
     I had not driven two-hundred feet when I spotted a pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers flying from a picnic table.  I stopped to watch the birds for a few minutes to discover that they were gleaning something from the picnic table.   They appeared to be gleaning food crumbs.  As I watched I discovered the trees that they flew from before alighting on the table.

Red-headed Woodpecker,  Melanerpes erythrocephalus:
Guntersville Dam Recreation Area near New Hope, Alabama

     Being opportunistic, I parked my van close to one of the trees so I could take photographs.  My presences did not seem to bother the birds as they went about their business.  Using the van as a blind I was able to get some very nice close-ups.  After the birds had finished gleaning the crumbs I followed them around the picnic area for a few more shots.
    I had not photographed Red-headed Woodpeckers since the spring of 1975.  So I was pretty excited for the opportunity and quite surprised to find this pair of photographable bird.  When I left the area I was a pretty happy camper.  By the way,  I forgot all about stopping at the pond on the way out.

Top:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/500 second @ f/7.1
Bottom:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/160 second @ f/8

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