Lewis's Woodpecker, Melanerpes lewis:
Larry Creek Loop; North of Stevensville, Montana
This is a bird that I had longed to photograph and finally got the chance in 2012. I began my search in Montana’s Glacier National Park. After talking with a Park Ranger I was directed to Polebridge, a small, out of the way tourist destination on western outskirts of the park. I drove many miles around the area which was very good Lewis’s Woodpecker habitat, but after a full day of searching I had no luck. I spent a few more days in Glacier then decided to head south and look elsewhere.
It wasn’t long till I found myself in Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge near Stevensville, Montana. On my third day of shooting at Metcalf I came across another photographer who told me about seeing a Lewis’s Woodpecker. Within the hour I saw my first Lewis’s. It was a lone bird flying from telephone pole to telephone pole along a dirt road.
I followed the woodpecker for a quarter of mile when it joined a couple of more birds in a wooded ravine. After watching the group for a few minutes I saw one of the birds fly to a snag with insects in its beak. I had found a nest right beside the road.
I spent three mornings observing and photographing Lewis’s Woodpecker at the nest tree. Though the young were too young to be seen, the adults but on a great show as they brought food to their nestlings. This bird was photographed after it delivered its insect morsels and hitched up the nest tree to pose for the camera.
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/1000 second @ f/7.1