|Here's a Florida state park that knows how to manage fire-dependent habitats.|
I'm never surprised when I visit one of our Florida state parks and walk away happy with what they are doing. Generally speaking, our parks are well managed with the health of the ecosystem as the main priority.
So, even while expecting great things, the beautiful pine savanna's on the long pretty drive into Ochlocknee River State Park reassured me that THIS park has its act together.
Fire management and fire-dependent ecosystems are a whole series of posts in their own, but this one is about a bird... a general group of birds I guess, but especially one species.
|I like Red Headed Woodpeckers so much I was stoked just to see this one high up in a pine tree on a morning hike. What was really stoketastic was ... there were a lot of them.|
They were a constant companion on my walk but always high or a little distant for my Canon EOS 70D/250mm lens combo.
There were whiny fledglings too ... how cool is that!
I don't consider myself a "real" birder.
I keep no life list.
I can identify a bunch of birds, but not the way dedicated birdwatchers can by a brief glimpse, or even more awesome by subtle differences in song.
I am content with knowing those are warblers in my winter woods and leave it at that. They are legion and they all look alike to me... mostly.
(Note: let me get a sharp photo of one, and then I WILL find out who it is.)
I don't own a spotting scope.
I don't like binoculars.
I really don't have any use for a lens that's not attached to a camera.
I don't do group birdwatching, ...the last thing I want is lots of company when I have camera time in the wild.
They can fly.
Who doesn't like that?
Also, the fact that more and more, fossil evidence points to them as downsized dinos, makes me love them actually.
Maybe I am a birder, just not a normal one.
In any case, among the birds that really make my day, and sadly, not very often anymore, the Red Headed Woodpeckers are up their with Bald Eagles and Swallowtail Kites.
Here at Pure Florida Head Quarters, we have Pileateds, Red-bellies, Downy or Hairy's... or both (see, real birders would know), flickers, and the occasional Ivory-Billed woodpecker.
We NEVER EVER have Red Heads.
In 26 years on this deadwood studded mostly wild ten acres, there has never been a Red Headed Woodpecker sighting.
So I was pretty happy to be surrounded by them at Ochlocknee.
|After hot hours and a few miles of summer morning hikes, seeing lots of woodpeckers at a distance, Sara N. Dippity chose to ride with me on the way out of the campground.|
At the dumpster of all places ...
As I was leaving the park after a two night stay, I pulled up to the big green campground dumpster and stopped just long enough to toss in a bag of trash.
When I glanced left to make sure I was clear to pull out on to the dirt park road ... there they were... an adult AND a fledgling Red Head!
I shot a few distant shots right away, then I eased the JEEP a little closer and shut it down to avoid lens vibes. I set the Canon EOS 70D on full auto and blasted away at 7 frames per second.
The woodpeckers, one high and one low then moved out of the shady side of the pine tree and into the morning light.
Oh sweet Sara.
After a bit, the adult flew away and the fledgling followed.
I drove on towards St. Marks and Hickory Mound knowing that whatever else happened, this day was already a success.
|Adult Red Headed Woodpecker|
|Chatterwhiny Fledgling Red Headed Woodpecker|
|I'm going to be a ginger just like my Dad.|
(More Sara N. Dippity ... just checked