My wife wasn't in the mood for birding yesterday but I decided to go out early to look for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in the W G Jones forest. We had gone there together in June on an unsuccessful search for this highly endangered bird.)
I reached the site at 7:15 and walked the forest trails for the next 90 minutes without spotting a Red-cockaded. In fact, I only saw a total of seven birds: a Broad-winged Hawk, two N. Cardinals, two Eastern Bluebirds and two Red-headed Woodpeckers. So much for the benefits of ealy morning birding!
At 8:45, I started walking back to the car, stopping along the way to photograph the sign below as a memento of my trip.
As I took the photo, I noticed a movement high up in a nearby tree. Although the bird flew away almost immediately, I got a good enough look through my binoculars to see it had the distinctive almost all-white face of the Red-cockaded.
It would have been nice to get a photo of this my 250th species of 2009; however, it was already getting hot and so I continued walking back to the car. Then I noticed a movement on the trunk of another tree. A look through my viewfinder showed it was another Red-cockaded and I was able to grab two photos before it flew off. As you can see below, the photos are just clear enough to confirm the bird's ID.