Birding just a small clearing of forest in Minnekhada Regional Park (100m from the Quarry Road parking lot!) over the May 2016 long weekend yielded two new bird species for my life list, including this Red-Breasted Sapsucker, who chose to make its cameo as I was photographing some other summertime birds I don’t see in my neck of the woods (Black-Headed Grosbeak, Yellow Warbler, and Western Tanager).
male and female Red-Breasted Sapsuckers sport identical plumages
f/6.3, 1/400, 500mm, ISO 2500
S/he flew low to the ground on its first pass, and all I saw was a bright flash of red on its head, so at first, I thought it was a Pileated Woodpecker — and then, a few seconds later, it flew straight to this dead tree and started pecking away at it. This handsome woodpecker did not call — but its bright red head did all the talking for it. It was all I could do not to stop and stare. Photographed on May 22.