A Few Seconds Preserved For In-depth Study
I have no explanation, other than divine intervention, for the high number of random, unusual wildlife interactions I enjoy at very close range. Such incidents happen often and at all times of the day and night. Really, I cannot explain them.
For example…This morning as I was driving I passed near a tree where an adult pileated woodpecker was chipping away at tree bark. The tree was right next to the road and the woodpecker was just feet from me. Had I been in the passenger seat with the window down I may have been able to brush my fingertips against the bird’s feathers.
Recognizing how close I was to a bird that seldom allows humans to approach close, I was excited and hopeful the bird would remain in position long enough for a photo or two. I turned around, drove the fifty-yards back to the tree I was hoping the pileated woodpecker would still be clinging to, and found just that. The bird was still there poking at the start of a hole in the tree bark!
All of the necessary details then fell into place – my camera exposure settings were spot on (I had preset them), my focus was spot on, the bird remained still for a few photos and I captured head blur in others, and ultimately I was able to preserve what was no more than three seconds for close study. In these few files I am able to really look close at an attractive and very elusive bird. I can see things in the image I would never see without the photos.
Pileated woodpeckers are beautiful birds. This one was in an area where I used to see them often. A few years ago a landowner, I presume in the interest of “cleaning things up,” took down the nest tree of a pileated woodpecker pair. I had photographed adult pileateds flying in and out of their nest hole many times, as well as their young offspring sticking there heads out of the dead tree. For years the area has had less pileated woodpecker activity to enjoy. Today’s sighting gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, a pair of pileated woodpeckers will again nest in the area with clear visibility for this picture taking guy.
If you look close at the first image below, you can see the woodpecker’s tongue is sticking out. Was it working on a nest hole or feeding on bugs buried under the tree bark?
Pileated Woodpecker – Close: