Friday, February 28, 2014

Lewis' Woodpecker

When I saw that a Lewis' Woodpecker was hanging around a campground just south of Oklahoma City, I figured I had to give it a shot. These woodpeckers are garishly colored; they have a greenish back and a pinkish breast. Oklahoma is outside of their range, they are typically found in the mountains of the western states. I have looked for them before out in the Rockies and in Nevada.

The campground was easy to find. It was on the north side of Taylor Lake, near Rush Springs, OK. There were a nice assemblage of oak trees. We walked through and cruised through the area for over an hour with no luck. We kept finding Red-headed Woodpeckers, which are normally a good bird. I even spotted a Red-bellied Woodpecker, to give me two of the six Melanerpes woodpeckers in North America. Just as soon as I decided that I was almost ready to leave, the Lewis flew in front of us and landed on a dead branch. It was gorgeous in the morning sun. I admired it in the binoculars and then grabbed my camera. Just then a Red-tailed Hawk cruised by overhead. The Lewis flew off, somehow confusing the Buteo for an Accipiter. I was mad at that Red-tail. I waited around, trying to figure out where the woodpecker went. Finally, I spotted it on a dead branch. But almost immediately, the pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers flew in and scolded the Lewis out of their territory. I left with no pictures, but with several good looks. All About Birds has some pictures and info, if you haven't seen what a Lewis' Woodpecker looks like. I figure now that I have seen the first one, I'll get a nice long look at one the next time I am in the mountains.

Red-headed Woodpecker (not a Lewis' Woodpecker)

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