I've been chasing sightings of Yellow-headed Blackbirds in Florida for years. I've gone to Palm Beach County, where they are regular in the winter time, I've gone up to Alachua County, where they've been seen the day before and the day after I was there. I've chased them around Lake Apopka, where they've always eluded me. One showed up in a Wal-Mart parking lot a few weeks ago about a half-hour from my house, but it wasn't kind enough to wait around until I could get there. So when someone reported one on March 16th at a small park in Orange Co. I'd never even heard of before, I was a bit skeptical that I'd actually find the bird. I had to drive up to Alabama the next morning, but I decided to take an hour to look for it.
But once I found the spot, the bird was easy to find. And it was an incredibly cooperative adult male. He spent a lot of time throwing his head back calling. I found this behavior very entertaining and fascinating. The male is so striking that I think it's the prettiest blackbird I've seen. The bird was initially somewhat hidden in the cattails, and I fired off a few shots. Then it flew away. While I was looking at my photos, it flew back and landed in the reeds right in front of me. It's so unusual for me to get photos like this the first time I see a bird, but these are some of my favorite blackbird photos.