Lineated Woodpecker: Calla de Gambia, Golfito, Costa Rica — We had our second Lineated Woodpecker encounter, and our first close encounter, on Calla de Gambia as we were walking a short stretch looking for birds in the wet, almost marshy, fields. He was in the trees of the “living fence” that separated the fields from the road. If you don’t know about living fences…in the tropics if you cut a fence pole and stick it in the ground and string wire on it…it will root and grow, put out new branches, and turn into a tree in a surprisingly short time. Over the years, the trees in a living fence can get quite large…certainly big enough to attract a big woodpecker like the Lineated. As usual with close woodpecker encounters, this bird was busy keeping on the back-side of the tree from us most of the time, and the light was almost always behind it. They never make it easy for the photographer. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixomator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 250 and 500 @ f4 @ 1/500th. Plus 1.7 EV exposure compensation for the backlight.
Black-cheeked and Hoffmann’s Woodpeckers: Donde Cope, Gaupiles, Costa Rica — Black-cheeked Woodpeckers are everywhere in the Caribbean lowland rain forest where we spend the first several days of our yearly trip to Costa Rica, and we generally see both Black-cheeked and the more wide-spread, but less abundant (in my experience) Hoffmann’s at both Dave and Dave’s Costa Rican Nature Park, and at Cope’s tiny village sanctuary. These shots are from a few moments apart at Cope’s, but in very different light. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 541mm equivalent. Program mode with wildlife modifications and multi-frame noise reduction. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. Black-cheeked, Equivalent ISO 2500 @ f4 @ 1/500th. Hoffmann’s, Equivalent ISO 800 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Pileated Woodpeckers: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I have seen more Pileated Woodpeckers this year than I have seen, all totaled, in the 10 years previously. As I noted yesterday, the female in this composite lives across the road from us in a patch of remnant forest along a stream, and I caught the male at Roger’s Pond Park, across the river from us, maybe 3/4 of a mile from our house, as the Pileated flies…so probably not a pair…but still an interesting comparison. (And, in fact, doing a bit of research here, Pileated territories can be up to 200 acres, and with the fragmented forest here in town, these two might still be a pair.) Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic. Male ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/1000th +1 EV, and Female ISO 125 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Pileated Woodpecker (female): Kennebunk, Maine, USA — yes this is one of those “same woodpecker on both sides of the tree” shots. I was set up to record my Sunday Morning Flute Meditation in front of our living room windows, when I saw movement across the street in front of our house. I know there is a female Pileated Woodpecker that hangs out in the woods back in there, and who visits our yard on rare occasions, and there she was, working a dead tree behind the fire hydrant. So, of course, I left the recording setup, grabbed my camera and a jacket and hat, and went out to see how close I could get. 🙂 These shots, two different shots assembled in Pixomatic to look like one, were taken from our mailbox. I had early morning sun at my back…and the light was so warm and intense that I lost all detail in the red crests, but still…you have to go for every Pileated…just because you do. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixomatic, Polarr, and Apple Photos. ISO 160 (left) and 125 (right) @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Pileated Woodpecker: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — This is only the third time we have had a Pileated Woodpecker in our yard in the 25 plus years we have lived here on Brown Street. There used to be a pair that nested in the little patch of woods inside the loop of Mousam Ridge just off Brown Street where we could hear them, but they have been gone for many years now. And I have only seen 4 others in Maine…two at Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve), and two random sightings along the roads of southern Maine. I was, then, surprised to see one fly into back corner of the neighbor’s yard, into the trees behind my backyard photo blind, just as it was getting dark, and in the rain, two days ago. I went out but could not get a photo. Then yesterday, about 10 AM, I noticed movement at the base of dead pine that has been trying to fall over since we have lived here. It is hung up in a big maple and just leans there rotting away. Binocular time. It was indeed the Pileated Woodpecker. I went out and over the next hour or more worked my way around the bird, a female, eventually to within 15 feet, as it dug grubs from the decaying wood…excavating a huge cavity on either side of the trunk to the point where it is just about cut through. It flew off a few times when I was not cautious enough, but quickly returned to its work. I must have taken a thousand exposures…and I do not exaggerate. Such a treat! I left it there and went inside to get some lunch before heading out on my trike to check on the trilliums at the Rachel Carson headquarters (which was on my list of things to do on Monday, before the Pileated visitation). When I left, going on one o’clock, it was still there working away. 🙂 It was not there, when I tried to show it to Carol later in the day, but it returned just as it was getting dark again and she got to see it. We will see what today brings…but it is raining…and, really, I have enough photos to last me a while…unless, of course, the male shows up. Then I will be out in a flash with my camera, rain or no! One thing these photos can not capture is the SIZE of the bird. It is big! The size of a crow. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Apple Photos. ISO 500 to 800 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers (Hairy on top): Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The size difference between Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers seems to be particularly pronounced here in Maine, and perhaps in New England in general. It is not that our Downys are small…it is that our Hairys are huge. This set of shots of male Hairys and Downys, taken from the same position in my blind with the same lens, on the same suet cage, show the difference well, and draw attention especially to the beaks. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Seen side by side like this, there is no mistaking the difference. Seen one at a time, and in less “controlled” conditions, it can still be a challenge. 🙂 Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. Assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 125 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Hairy Woodpecker: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — to accompany yesterday’s shot of a large male Hairy Woodpecker…they come in jumbo size in southern Maine…here is his mate at the same feeder…though from a slightly better angle. The female is, if anything, a bit larger than the male. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 125 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Downy Woodpecker, Kennebunk, Maine, USA. This is the male Downy Woodpecker from the pair that frequent our backyard. The Downy’s are, surprisingly, even bolder than the Chickadees. They will come down from the trees even when they have seen me. I know they see me, because they sit on a branch above me and watch me, often hoping to other branches for a better view, for several moments before diving down. 🙂 That little patch of red really stands out in the sun. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Yet another shot from the Ash Canyon Bed and Breakfast south of Sierra Vista, Arizona. The Acorn Woodpecker is the archetypal house breaker, hammering on any solid surface, destroyer of aluminum siding and cedar shingles indiscriminately…made famous by the Disney cartoons of Woody the Woodpecker. They are the most common woodpecker in the foothills of Arizona’s Sky Islands.
Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/320th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.
On the first day of 2016 I went to look for the Kennebunk eagles at Roger’s Pond. No show. But while I was there I saw a largish bird fly low and into a dead tree just where the creek joins the river, at the turn of the loop around the pond. A while later I heard a knock. Knock! Pileated Woodpecker! This is only my third photo op in Maine, and I have not seen them much more often than that either. They are around…even around my house…and I hear them occasionally, but a good sighting is rare. Rare enough to make this an auspicious first bird for 2016!
This image is not what you might think at first glance. I used Coolage to assemble two images of the same bird, at different points as it circled the trunk, into a single image. Since Coolage blends edges and the trunk is an ideal object for a blend, it certainly looks like two Pileateds. It is not, trust me. I just wanted to give you two views of the bird. 🙂 And it does make a striking image. Or that is what I think.
Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 400 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage.