Sharon, the latest pic (and the first) from the Florida fellow have been discussed on a BirdForum thread and pretty well concluded to be fake (unless he can provide further details/explanation to the contrary); just a few of the points made:
1. white wing patch is too large and wrong shape for a real bird
2. pose or posture is very odd and sitting in a citrus tree, also odd
3. tail is not braced against branch as normal for a woodpecker
4. bill possibly too thin
5. possibly a building visible on left side of photo (with magnifying glass) beyond foliage
6. the guy's whole website and writing style is quite peculiar, and filled with advertising; even the url containing the phrase "Bill is mad" is a bit odd.
So far he hasn't responded to any of the points on BirdForum, where some sleuthing about his possible background was also put forth.
always possible the guy is on to something and just has a very odd way of communicating... but, so far doesn't seem likely.
In other news, ABC got this scoop:
Bird Waching is Popular (Birdchick says: DUH!)
By DAVE CARPENTER
CHICAGO, Jan. 31, 2006 — Entrepreneur Vernon LaVia spends $15,000 a year on birding trips and can reel off all the diseases and misadventures he's had pursuing his favorite pastime in 33 countries.
Group benefits salesman Todd Birutis' idea of a good time: Hanging out on a frozen beach in Lithuania all day for the chance of a new ornithological sight.
Financial reporter Christine Williamson has a not-so-hidden agenda when she travels to meet with money managers: grilling them for information on local bird sightings so she can add to her "life list."
What the three baby boomers have in common is an expensive passion for birds shared by countless others with the wherewithal to pursue it from Antarctica to Zimbabwe. While the cost of chasing birds to the far corners of the earth is high, virtually everyone afflicted with this obsession says the rewards — beauty, mystery, awe and longer lists — are well worth it.
"They [birds] are so totally cool," said the 46-year-old Williamson, who, like the other two, lives in Chicago when she's not off on international birding expeditions.
You can read the rest of the story here.