Thursday, December 25, 2008

Villas Woodpecker Show

Christmas morning, after the usual festivities that accompany it, found me on a walk around Villas WMA, the former golf course now grown into an oak-pine savannah. I wasn't technically birding, but the species typical of that habitat were too obvious too ignore. Two of the hatch-year Red-headed Woodpeckers that have been reported appeared, feeding on and caching acorns in the south-central portion of the WMA. Flickers seemed common, 20 or more flying up as we walked, and Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers rounded out the picids present. Five Eastern Bluebirds and five Field Sparrows foraged in the grassy margins, and it was especially fine to enjoy a close-range male American Kestrel. Seeing the kestrel, and Villas WMA generally, reminds me of places in the Piney Woods of Texas where birders seek Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, and where kestrels sometimes find tree cavities to nest.

Fifteen or so Ring-necked Ducks floated on the main pond, with several American Wigeon and two Ruddy Ducks. The ruddies were bothered, briefly, by a Great Black-backed Gull with dinner on its mind.

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