Monday, June 25, 2012

    Lewis’s Woodpecker – Stevensville, Montana:  For three days I drove Glacier National Park, The National Bison Range, and Metcalf NWR looking for Lewis’s Woodpecker.  Lewis’s Woodpecker is an uncommon bird in its range, and I was told by park rangers and other birder’s that, “you don’t find Lewis’s, they just happen.  They move around a lot.”  
     The Lewis’s Woodpecker was first collect by Meriwether Lewis on the 1805 expedition into the recently acquired Louisiana Purchase territory.  The bird was named for its discoverer. 
Unlike other woodpeckers the Lewis’s does not usually dig into a tree for insects, but fly catches.  I have observed the bird perched in typical woodpecker posture, then, leap into the air to hawk insects.  It is most unusual behavior for a woodpecker.
     After chasing the bird for three days I did not think I would find one, then I stopped and talked with another photographer while shooting at Lee Metcalf NWR.  I asked him if he had seen a Lewis’s.  He told me he had seen one that morning on a road west and north of Stevensville.  With his directions I took off looking, and to my great surprise I found not one, but three birds just a half a mile north of where he told me to look.  As I watched the birds I was incredibly excited.  The Lewis’s is a “Lifer” for me.  Seeing the bird itself was enough, but I had not only seen the bird, I saw one fly to nearby cavity.  I had found nesting birds, and an opportunity to shoot photos.
    The nest was situated in a cottonwood stump about twelve feet off the ground.  There was also a drive into pasture about 20-25 feet from the nest that I would pull into.  The nest was perfectly situated for me to use my van as a blind.  I have enjoyed two good mornings shooting this wonderful, and some what rare bird.  I was just hoping to see this beautiful bird, but I have been fortunate to photograph it as well.  What more could I ask for!

Top Photo:  Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f4, with 1.4 teleconverter, 1/1000 sec @ f8
Bottom Photo:  Nikon D 7000, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/000 sec, @ f7.1

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bobby, I learn and see something new each time I check out your blog. Your photos are the greatest and so is your blog!