Saturday, February 5, 2011

First Sighting!

Look what flew into my yard on Thursday, February 3rd, 2011!
Last week, my neighbor said she had seen a bird that she did not recognize, describing it as green with rosy breast. Since I haven't seen anything new in a while, anytime I am outside I scan the trees and sky.

Finally, after running errands in town, I turn into my driveway and notice a large woodpecker on the side of the telephone pole hiding from view, thinking it is the Northern Flicker that regularly perches there, my glance is quick, but wait-- the color is off. I crane my neck even more much to my discomfort to see that is it not the Flicker but something else. I quickly continue up the driveway and into the garage all the while hoping the bird would not leave its perch. Quickly I run into the house and grab my bins. As I walk, I look through my bins at the same time (which is not easy for me) taking in all the details at once. Being a novice birder, I don't know the bird species very well. I see dark green overall coloring, red breast, long & thick beak like a woodpecker before it flies away. I am so excited!!!! I high tail it back into the house to search the woodpeckers in my field guide.

What is it, you say?

It's a Lewis's Woodpecker!

Why am I so excited about a woodpecker? It's is new Life Bird for me!

In my excitement, I grab the phone, standing at my front porch windows looking at my feeders, and call my friend, Kathie, who lives in Boston area now. Without letting Kathie say more that "Hello". I say "Guess what I just saw? No, you'll never get it! I just got a new Life Bird!!!! It's a Lewis's Woodpecker!! In my own yard!!!" Squeals of excitement as I relay all the details. Suddenly - right in front of me - the woodpecker lands in the trees -honing in on the suet feeder. It is absolutely gorgeous! Kathie says "Where's your camera?" Luckily it is sitting right on the window sill!

Lewis's are described as a large long winged woodpecker; very dark overall; dull green head and back; gray collar and breast; deep red face and a light red belly. Lewis's Woodpeckers are common in most of Utah year round, yet in my 13 years of living here I have never seen one. The Sibley Field Guide migration map shows Morgan County split between summer and migration and the Bird's of Utah Field Guide shows the county split between year round and migration.

Not a very flattering shot, but it does show the pale red color of the underbelly.

The gray collar, green head and back are very visible in this view.

Notice the contrast between the deep red cheeks and the pale red belly.

Isn't he a beauty?

While standing at the window, still talking to Kathie and taking pictures, a few more feathery friends show up.

A female Downy Woodpecker creeping down to the feeder.

A red-shafted Northern Flicker eyeing the suet.

The Downy flying away as the Northern Flicker swoops onto the suet feeder.

Hope you enjoy this moment of My Mountain Green! I know I do!

I apologize to all my photography friends. I am sure these pictures are not even close to the quality and caliber of your pictures. I use a Canon PowerShot 8 mega pixal digital camera. All of these shots are zoomed to the max and all, but the last one, are cropped. My windows are very dirty as well.


Kathiesbirds said...

Why Kathryn, these are just great! Love the shots of the Lewis'! So fun to see what you were seeing while we were talking! If you go back to my Sycamore Canyon blog and look at some of my first posts you will see that, at the beggining, all my bird photos looked like this too until I got my Nikon. Perhaps you should put one on your Christmas wish list?

All I can say of this blogpost is, well done! BTW, I love the title of your blog!

Roy said...

Hey Kathryn, I started off with a 3.5mega pixel camera a few years ago. You have to start somewhere. Having the interest in the birdlife and nature generally is the main thing. It doesn't matter about what camera you got, we all continue to learn more about photography and nature as we study it.
Dirty windows !!! shocking.!! {:)

retriever said...

Great captures shots, best regard from Belgium, i stay in utah a few when i travel for see great cayon, remeber the ours was different, nice blog.

KatNell said...

Kathie and Roy, thanks for the encouragement and kind words.

Retriever, thanks for stopping by my blog. My best regards to you and Belgium.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a handsome woodpecker and such a lovely series of photos!

KatNell said...

Crafty Green Poet, thanks for stopping by my blog.

Frank said...

Hi Kathryn. Just dropped in via Kathie's. What a lovely surprise you found. Enjoying the sights and sounds of nature is far more important than capturing the perfect shot (if there is one). Anyway the photography will improve with practice.

KatNell said...

Frank, Thanks for dropping in and for the encouraging comments. I look forward to reading your blog as well.

Larry said...

Nice variety of woodpeckers you have.I like the Lewis the best since I've never seen them.

Steve Borichevsky said...

Hah! Good for you!

Let me tell you about my Lewis’s Woodpecker story. I lived in Boulder, Colorado for years where I did bird census work, breading bird blocks, CBCs, Bird-a-thons…you get the idea. The one bird I could never find was the Lewis’s Woodpecker.

For years, I would go out on field trips and my buddies would tell me we were going up to a place where “they are always on the sides of the telephone poles up there”. Five years I would go up there, “Oh we saw them there yesterday”.

Finally, one day, there it was, a Lewis’s Woodpecker. Excited, because it is a very beautiful animal, I continued on my bird trip up to Rabbit Mountain out side of Boulder. There I saw five more.

After getting skunked for years and years, I saw six in two different locations that I’ve birded many, many times.

You have no idea how luck you are!

KatNell said...

Larry, thanks for stopping by my blog. I have flickers and downys quite often all year long, they are beautiful and I never tired looking at them. The Lewis is such a delight to see and watch. He is still hanging around.

Steve, I was so excited to see the Lewis. I can imagine your frustrating hunt to see them, then finally, you see one....then another five! Wow. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your adventure.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Ooooh! What a thrill! I'm a novice birder, too. But I get just has excited when I discover a new-to-me bird, especially when it's on my property.