Big Country Audubon Society

Big Country Blog

Red-headed Woodpecker in Abilene, TX

Big Country birding has been soooooo quiet this past week, even a little dead except for the occasional hummingbird fight at the feeders. A few warblers are passing through, mainly Yellow, a few Wilson’s and now a Nashville or two. But on this morning’s field trip to Oakwood Trails, our group spotted this dark-headed woodpecker:


It’s a Red-headed Woodpecker…hatch-year bird of course. If you look closely you’ll see a smattering of red feathers starting to appear on it’s face, especially around the eye. It has another red feather on the breast. By the time this bird grows up, it’ll have a totally red head and neck and live up to its name, Red-headed Woodpecker.


The last time we spotted a Red-headed Woodpecker inside Abilene was over twenty years ago. Wouldn’t it be nice if it hung around long enough for us to see it molt into adulthood? If you are interested in seeing this woodpecker, drop us a note and we’ll send you more specific directions.


Lorie took this photo, highlighting the red spots.

Caspian Terns and Sanderlings at Kirby


Once again, Lake Kirby has produced a couple of more rarities for the Big Country. This Caspian Tern (above) was spotted and photographed August 30, 2008, by Lorie Black.

A week later (September 6), another Caspian Tern was seen but with a juvenile:


Lorie thinks this is a different adult tern from the one seen last week. The one last week had a pronounced black tip; this bird did not. The juvenile was posturing and begging to be fed!


And if that’s not enough excitement for you, a couple of Sanderlings were present also:


Both species are rare for the Big Country. Other sightings for this weekend can be found on our Sightings page.