Several folks have correctly pointed out that the woodpecker I pictured was a red-bellied woodpecker
rather than a red-headed woodpecker. The red-bellied woodpecker (pictured) has a small spot of red on the back of his head and a checkered back. The red-headed woodpecker has a red hood around his head and a black back. Both are medium sized and are the ultimate bullies of the neighborhood. It goes to show you that the Flower Guy may know something about flowers but is sometimes wanting in the domain of birds.
It has been frigid in the Heartland so we have been feeding the wild birds.Both male and female cardinals (Family Cardinalidae) have been frequent visitors. They are passerine (three forward toes and one backward toe) and are buntings (strong stubby beaks). The female differs markedly in color from the male but both have red beaks. They are 'puffed" out to stay warm with the temperature at single digits.
Jan and I re-explored Charette Creek yesterday. We are fortunate to have this natural stream just minutes from the western gate (Linden) of the Village of Innsbrook (established in 1998) which encompasses our Innsbrook Resort. Charrette Creek is a tributary of the Missouri River. The creek includes the North Fork of Charrette Creek and a fork arising below the spillway of Lake Aspen. Our lake house is on Lake Aspen which is included in the valley above the creeks origin. The North Fork arises north and west of Reifschneider State Forest. We have been exploring this area for over 38 years. Turning south on Schutzengrund Road we drive on a gravel road which goes down to the Missouri River valley and becomes Charrette Creek Road. The road is magical and on this grey cloudy December day with the leaves off the trees we can see the stark beauty of the creek and its surroundings.
As the creek meanders south to the Missouri it crosses over five low water bridges. As the water rises and falls with the rain it has not been uncommon for us to be stopped by high water but with luck and common sense so far we have not been stranded.
For years we have loved the incredible beauty of this area. We have waded and gone swimming and
enjoyed picnics. It can be a little dicey since it is not public property and we have not ever found anyone to ask for permission. We have been lucky so far.
Our favorite place is a natural swimming hole with high limestone bluffs.
The water is crystal clear.
The creek flows south and enters the Missouri River just west of the Washington Bridge.