Two More “Reds” at Blackwater NWR

(Photos taken at Blackwater NWR, Cambridge, Maryland)

One of my last posts I shared a male Summer Tanager, a gorgeous red bird I photographed at BNWR.

I also captured two more “reds” while at the refuge I wanted to share.

Red #1 – One beauty with distinctive contrasting colors of red, black, and white is the Red-headed Woodpecker.

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Red-headed Woodpecker


Both males and females look alike.

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Red-headed Woodpecker


How nice that he/she gave a look my way!

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Red-headed Woodpecker


Red #2 – Slowly cruisin’ further along the wildlife drive taking photos, we came around a corner, and happened upon a Red Fox walking along the drive, several hundred feet ahead of us.

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Red Fox


The Red Fox kept walking so we kept a safe distance and slowly followed.  To be honest, I don’t know if it was actually aware of us yet.

By now, the drive was crossing marshes on both sides.  Coming up to a sharp road curve to the right, the Red Fox came to a stop (as did we), turned, and looked left across the water.

The Red Fox never looked our way.  He has to know we’re sitting there a couple hundred feet away in our black SUV, doesn’t he?

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“Wait, where am I? Something’s not right.  Did I make a wrong turn?”


Not taking his eyes off looking across the water, he turned and started heading back towards us.  I slipped back in the car and closed my door enough to not allow a noise, and we sat still while he walked right on past us and continued back down the drive where we had all just come from.

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“Darn, now I gotta walk nonchalantly past this thing that was following me.
I just won’t look at it, and hopefully it will leave me alone.”


Before we had sighted the Red Fox, there was a side road to fields that connects to the wildlife drive, which is where he probably came from, accidentally turning right instead of left, and then finally realizing he was not where he thought or was supposed to be.

We enjoyed the encounter, especially me capturing these best shots to date of the gorgeous Red Fox.


47 thoughts on “Two More “Reds” at Blackwater NWR

  1. Thanks for sharing, Donna! We also saw the red headed woodpecker yesterday and a red-bellied woodpecker, as well as a colorful Baltimore Oriole. What a great place that is!

  2. Great captures Donna! Boy…You’ve found a gold mine being close to the Blackwater NWR! Thanks for the post my friend… 🙂

    • Thank you, HJ, and you’re welcome! 🙂 Years ago I drove hours just to go to Blackwater NWR and always loved this refuge. That was one reason we looked to live in this area and be close now. It is a beautiful refuge.

  3. Wow I would love to see a red-headed woodpecker. The fox reminds me of a coyote that I passed on a road. It was not healthy looking which was part of the reason for it’s lack of wariness.

  4. Oh my gosh!!! I’ve never seen that woodpecker. He’s a beauty!

    I’ve fox kits, but at night when it was impossible to get an image. I’ve been longing for a daytime sighting of a fox when I have my camera ready for years! What a fantastic sighting! Both are actually! I’m so excited for you, and am thankful to have found you so I can these images, and read your story about happening upon them.

  5. Lovely pics of the woodpecker Donna! Foxes are a wildlife conservationists concern. We have lost much wildlife from foxes {inttoduced species) and ferule cats (also introduced). We are very concerned should they.manage to land in Tasmania, where our Platipus would be decimated, as they were on the mainland. We have seen foxes skulking around bird reserves looking for an easy feed. It is a real concern as there are now so many in our country, as there are in yours, and it has no predator.

    • Thank you Ashley! How sad on your comments, but I do understand what you are saying. Let’s hope somehow the fox population can be curtailed in some way so as to not lose other precious wildlife with critical concerns.

  6. I thought that the images of the red headed woodpecker were something special, but to catch a fox out in the open like that is very special!

    The fox was probably hunting by sound or scent, and by moving back and forth, it was pinpointing the source of a sound or scent that may have led it to its prey.

    • Thanks Jerry! It was a great day! 🙂 Thanks also for fox tips, I imagine they do have excellent ears and eyes, and your reasoning for his back & forth movement. I wasn’t sure if he looked healthy, since I don’t know much about them, he did look lean. I figured something was up, I didn’t think he could really be lost. 😉 Foxes are too smart!

  7. I’ll bet I know right where you saw that beautiful woodpecker. Blackwater is my most reliable spot to find them. That fox behavior I was really bizarre and unusual. I find them to be very skittish and difficult to get close to. Great shots of both.

    • Thanks Steve! I saw several Red-headed woodpeckers that day, darting through the woods, tree to tree. Their bright red head catches your eye nicely to sight them. 🙂 All my previous fox encounters any where in the U.S. have always been skittish too, and I only got tails and blurs as they ran away. On this fox, I was using my 70-200mm with 1/7x converter and still cropped the photos so we were quite a ways back; and at the final car stopping, hubby turned off the car. Still, the fox walked back and right past us. I thought that was bizarre for sure.

  8. Your photos are so wonderful, Donna! We have Red-headed woodpeckers here, too, and it is such a special treat to get to see them. I also love your oblivious fox. I am always amazed at how scrawny they appear at closer inspection.

    • Thank you, Tanja! I love these woodpeckers, that bright red head is stunning. Re the fox, do you think he’s just scrawny and not unhealthy? I’ve never encountered a fox long enough to get decent photos or get to sit and watch them as we did from the car. We wondered if he was sick. As he approached us to pass us, we then thought his face looked healthy. I was trying to photograph through the windshield but that didn’t work at all this time. lol

  9. You are the lucky one! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a red-headed woodpecker, though we do get the Pileated one around here. That coy look you got was priceless! As for the fox… I don’t know enough about them to have an opinion except that your captures are wonderful. Keep ’em coming! 😀

    • I am lucky! 🙂 The Red-headed Woodpecker is my favorite woodpecker, they’re bright red head flashing through the woods while they are in flight is pretty cool. And boy, we did enjoy our fox encounter!

  10. Wonderful shots of both the woodpecker and the fox! How lucky you were to encounter both. We had a Red Fox at the park (salt marsh) the other night and, of course, I didn’t have my camera.

  11. I have come back to this page to make a comment. I just received a notice from an email from the committee on the status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The red-Headed Woodpecker is not doing well here. It was classified “special concern” in 1996, threatened in 2007 and now on the endangered list. The population in Canada is estimated to be “6,000 and declining rapidly.”

    • Jane, I am sorry to hear the disheartening plight of the RHWoodpecker in Canada. As for North America since 2004, it has been listed as “Near Threatened”. Yesterday, during my visit to our refuge, I saw so many of them. How lucky for me, I will enjoy them twice as much from now on.

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