This morning I had a bit of time after the family Turkey Day Dinner so I visited the nearby Schenk Forest. My goal was to see the Red-Headed Woodpecker. This southern species does breed annually in a few selected spots up north where I live but they are always great to see again.
Here is a sunrise shot from North Carolina at the Schenk Forest Entrance:
click to enlarge
The target species:
A sign about Dr. Schenk
I then tied to visit the nearby Prairie View Ecological Station...but like many of the parks I tried to visit over the holiday (this one, Yates Mill County Park, and Johnson Lake Park) it was closed !! so I headed back to Schenk Forest and made a quick stop to look at the map and get my bearings.
While parked I saw a pale-ish sparrow hopping around about 20 feet away and so I put my bins on it. To my surprise I saw this was a Clay-Colored Sparrow ! I had very nice views of this bird, and it's lores were clear, which excluded the more common Chipping Sparrow.
Overall a nice morning at Schenk Forest which included species of Brown-Headed Nuthatch, Blue-Headed Vireo, Eastern Meadowlark, American Kestrel and others.