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


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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3 Responses to Dracula

  1. Gary Grantham says:

    Very timely Joe. We are going to Transylvania in October. I am re-reading Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” in preparation.

  2. kathydoremus says:

    Love this picture! Not only does it capture a bit of personality, but I love how the red berries balance with the red belly. Nicely done.

  3. Chris VB says:

    We love them too. Don,t have one yet this year for the county list.

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