On a walk over the farm at Thornton Creek this afternoon I discovered a Black-backed Woodpecker. I first saw it as it flew from a cedar tree. It landed in a Bigleaf Maple, where I was able to observe it for at least ten minutes at a distance of about eighty feet. It was about the same size as a Hairy Woodpecker, the bill was a bout 2/3 the length of the head and the entire upperparts were solid black. It was difficult to see the underparts, because most of the time the bird was hugging the trunk of the tree, but now and then I caught a glimpse of a white throat and barred flanks. Its foraging actions were quite different from Hairy Woodpecker. Its pecking was much more rapid and sustained, and the bird moved a lot less. In the entire time I observed it on the maple, it barely moved from one spot. After about ten minutes it flew down. I got a good look at it in flight, and was able to see that entirely black from crown to tail.
This sighting made up for one about five years ago, when I had a brief, unsatisfactory look at a bird I suspected was of this species, about 1/4 of a mile higher on the same ridge from where this bird was sighted.
Although it was a county first for me, it was not new to the county list. One winter some years ago one was sighted near Toledo.
I don't think it would do much good for any county listers to look for this bird. I was unable to relocate it after it flew, and the area was deep in the woods. Even if it stayed in the same general area, any search would be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.