Red-headed Woodpecker, Mississippi River, Thomson Causeway Recreation Area, Illinois

The sun was out today and with temperatures just below freezing and hardly any wind we had great conditions for a cruise by car along the Mississippi River. I checked well known locations, like the Green Island Wetlands, but moved on further south on the Illinois side of the river all the way to Fulton, IL. My goal was to scout some new marshes and backwater areas on the east side of the big river and I found quite a few places that look promising for future bird watching and photography trips.

All images: Nikon D750, Sigma 150-600mm / f5-6.3 DG OS HSM S, @600 mm (900 mm DX mode)

This woodpecker was busy high up in an oak, right along the river banks in the campground of the Thomson Causeway Recreation Area. The Red-headed Woodpecker can be found in our area all year long but we have seen them only occasionally during migration time. This bird wasn’t alone, I could hear the “queer-calls” of at least another one and a gentleman told me that he had seen several Red-headed Woodpeckers earlier this week.

I had to employ the DX-mode of the camera for these overhead shots and still cropped both photos. With other words, the equivalent of 900 mm focal length left still too much blue sky in the frame. The woodpecker never came down to a lower branch but I’m not unhappy with the outcome. The season without campers and leaves in the trees is still long and I’m planning to go back again soon…