Daily Archives: May 4, 2021

Pileated Visitation

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.