I see this bird several times every year, but those sightings are usually very brief ones as the bird flies across the road, or an opening in the forest. Fifteen years ago, I sat on a wooded slope in central Pennsylvania and watched one excavating a hole. Wood chips flew everywhere. I was not a photographer then.
Last year I had an excellent opportunity to photograph the Pileated Woodpecker - it was close to a trail I was on, working a fallen tree close to the ground. But I had violated Rule #1 for getting good photographs. I did not have my camera with me!
Early Sunday morning I carried my camera and binoculars from my apartment in a high rise building in Philadelphia down to the parking lot. Part of the parking lot is lined with large trees which screen a major city road. The road runs parallel to the Wissahickon Park - a significantly large piece of nature in the middle of the city.
I heard tap-tapping. I glanced casually, saw some red, and thought, Red-bellied Woodpecker. But I looked closer. A Pileated Woodpecker was busily pounding on a dead branch.
Then - grab the camera. Turn it on. Shoot off the documenting shots. Then work around for better views, better lighting, new angles. For about 15 minutes I photographed the bird as it worked along dead limbs.
|Pileated Woodpecker - female, with black stripe on chin|
|Digging out the good stuff|
I was so busy photographing the bird, that I almost missed the fact that there was a second bird present ...
|Pileated Woodpecker - female, with just the tail of a second bird on the right|
|Pileated Woodpecker - male|