Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ark Construction and World Class Woodpeckers

It rained last night and we are supposed to get some more this morning, so it is perfect weather for ark construction!

It's also perfect weather to share some more of the World-Class Woodpeckers that came by in the past week.

I just love this photo as it is such a great study in contrasts!
On the top left is a Red-breasted Sapsucker, on the bottom right is a young female Pileated Woodpecker.  I've commented several times that Pileated Woodpeckers are Big Birds! Here's the proof!

The young bird was a picture of industry - can you see the wood chips flying?

Her feet and claws are pretty fierce looking.

She has lovely glossy black feathers, and that red head - tough to beat that.

Here she is in a typical woodpecker stance.  Feet up high almost a neck level, and her tail feathers weighted against the snag to counter-balance her body's weight.

You can see she still has lots of baby-soft downy feathers.

She has a thin needle-sharp long tongue - perfect for extracting the small insects (ants) that she eats.

She has a handsome profile.

I've been lucky as for the past two or three weeks I've seen a Pileated Woodpecker or two several times.

Normally my woodpecker posts end with photos of the Pileated Woodpecker, the largest of my area woodpeckers. But last Friday afternoon while sitting on the Front Porch with Padma and Parvati Hufflepuff, a bird caught my eye, and as luck would have it, it was a New Bird! 

It was a Lewis's Woodpecker!  You know how I love native plants named for the explorers William Clark, and Meriwether Lewis.  Well, I'm also gaga for birds named for those two men.  

All About Birds notes,"On the expedition’s return journey across the Bitteroot Mountains (in 1805), the team was forced by winter weather to camp on the Kooskooskie River, near present-day Kamiah, Idaho. Here, Meriwether Lewis secured a new avian species he would name the “black woodpecker.” In 1811, famed bird artist Alexander Wilson used Lewis’s specimens at Charles Peale’s Philadelphia Museum to sketch and describe the holotype for the Lewis’s Woodpecker—which he dubbed Picus torquatus, the “woodpecker with a necklace.”

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, "This medium-sized ... woodpecker relies on flycatching during the spring and summer and store mast (like acorns) in the fall and winter. Formerly widespread in Oregon, it is currently common year-round only in the white oak-ponderosa pine belt east
of Mt. Hood. It also breeds in low numbers in open habitat along east Oregon river and stream valleys."

I even got to watch and document it catching and eating flying insects.


The Lewis's Woodpecker stayed in the area for 30 minutes or more.  It is probably the only time I will see it close to my house as it prefers the more open forests of Central Oregon. I was just so pleased that I happened to be outside when this lovely glossy green/black woodpecker with the dark red head and rosy breast stopped by for dinner. 


Vickie said...

I am so happy you spotted your new woodpecker.
I love the flying wood chips picture.

Maggee said...

Ordinarily I love the Pileated Woodpeckers, but today... couldn't wait to scroll down to see the NEW bird! And WHAT a find!! WOW! You took some very excellent shots of it, especially eating that bug--ick! Congrats on the new type of woodpecker... You have had the most types ever, and can now add one more to the mix! Yahoo!

Le trame della Galaverna said...

Wow your photos are so beautiful
They are incredible

Wanda said...

What a wonderful treat! I have never seen or heard of Lewis's woodpecker and what a great story to go with the photos. Beth, what incredible picture of the 'woodpecker with a necklance' catching an insect and what a terrific picture of the young Pileated woodpecker eating!

Barb said...

How very lucky for you. What a fascinating woodpecker and I loved the story about it. Congratulations on adding another wonderful bird to your list!