Friday, July 22, 2011

Lewis's Woodpecker Habitat

I know quite a few people who have struggled to find Lewis's Woodpeckers in the past. For the most part I think it is just due to most people not completely understanding where to look but may also be due to me living in Indiana so most people I know don't get to bird the west as much as I am able to. But I still thought I would take a couple of quick shots with my ipod to show the ideal habitat for LEWOs

This area is close to Elk Mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota but this hillside is actually in Wyoming. Luckily if you like state lists this habitat is in both states so you can quickly add LEWO to your lists for both states. This area is also very good for Red-headed Woodpecker as well as tons of Northern Flickers (mostly red-shafted).

Anyway, as you can see this habitat is a burned area. This spot happens to be burned Ponderosa Pine but it doesn't have to be burned Ponderosa to attract LEWO but they are usually a little more common at a relatively low elevation whereas if there were a big burned area like this at about 6000 feet than Black-backed Woodpecker would be more common when within the Black-backed's range. Three-toed Woodpeckers are also known to use burned areas but for some reason they don't in the Black Hills. Three-toed can be found in spruce and high elevation pine beetle killed forests within the Black Hills.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is this Really Nebraska?

This video was taken in the northwest corner of Nebraska in the Pine Ridge area. Unless you have been there you would never guess that it could be part of Nebraska.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quick Colorado Birding and Photography

Dream Lake at first light.

After spending a few days with my family in the Black Hills we went to the Rockies in Colorado. We spent all of our time at the beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park. The first morning my brother, Dan and I hiked up to Dream Lake at sunrise. The reflection of the mountains in the lake create a beautiful scene. There are always plenty of birds around as well, including quite a few Clark's Nutcrackers.

Dream Lake Reflections

After spending the morning at Dream Lake we had some time before we were supposed to meet our parents at the Alpine Visitor Center so we headed up the mountain to look for White-tailed Ptarmigan. After driving around for a while I finally decided on where to hike. I chose a new spot since I had missed ptarmigans every time I had looked for them in the park. We ran into a couple of other birders on the trail and they informed us that this trail was a historically good spot for them. After about a quarter mile one of the other birders spotted one and we were able to watch it at our leisure.

White-tailed Ptarmigan

After hiking back and meeting up with my parents we went back so my mom could see one. We were able to relocate one without too much effort and we all had great looks yet again. We spent the next day and a half in the park or in Estes Park (the town right outside the park). We saw plenty of cool birds including a couple of my favorites, American Dipper and Williamson's Sapsucker. And we also saw plenty of mammals including Pika, Yellow-bellied Marmots, Mule Deer, Elk, and several species of squirrels and chipmunks.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chasing another State Bird

Since I finally had a Saturday free, I decided to head up to northwest Indiana to look for a Western Wood-Pewee that had been spotted at Hoosier Prairie State Nature Preserve. Ryan Sanderson met me at my apartment at 6am and we headed up to Logansport to pick up Indiana Young Birders Club member Landon Neumann. We made it to Hoosier Prairie just after 9am and hiked over to the area where the bird had been being seen. Unlike some recent birding adventures, this bird did not make us search for it. We heard it almost immediately when we walked up and we had it in view within 30 seconds.

We stayed in the area for almost two hours photographing the bird and talking to other birders who came to see it. Here is one of my photos that I took with Ryan's 600mm lens!

Western Wood-Pewee

We decided to head away from the lakefront and look for some birds at Kankakee Sands. Unfortunately there was very little moving around on this very hot afternoon. The best birds were some Grasshopper Sparrows that were posing for us onto of some fence posts!

Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow


Thursday, July 7, 2011