This week’s photo, taken June 13, 2014 along Oak Creek Road in Yakima County, WA, features a LEWIS’S WOODPECKER approaching its nesting cavity with a few snacks.
I just returned from the Washington Ornithological Society’s annual conference, headquartered this year in Yakima, in the south-central region of the state. During the four-day event, more than 50 field trips were offered to various habitats, including mountain forest, shrub-steppe, canyon, marsh and riparian.
Although I didn’t add any birds to my life list, new additions to my state list are:
- Swainson’s Hawk
- Williamson’s Sapsucker
- Hammond’s Flycatcher
- Ash-throated Flycatcher
- Loggerhead Shrike
- Red-eyed Vireo
- Bank Swallow
- Sagebrush Sparrow
My previous views of Lewis’s Woodpecker have been brief and distant, often consisting of a single bird flying away. But this past Friday the 13th, our group got lucky and enjoyed 15 – 20 sightings of this spectacular species.
“Lewis” is a strikingly beautiful and unique member of the woodpecker family. It has a reddish-pink belly and a deep red face. Except for the gray collar, its back side is completely dark (up close, a greenish iridescence is visible). When you observe this bird from a certain angle, it seems to be wearing a cape, reminiscent of Count Dracula. Because of its dark wings, large size and flight style, when the Lewis’s Woodpecker flies, it can easily be mistaken for a crow. On the other hand, if you get a good look at a perched Lewis’s Woodpecker, you probably won’t confuse it with any other bird on the planet.
To view Joe’s Best Bird Photos, go to: http://joe-sweeney.fineartamerica.com