Crivvens! 40 whacks an' Ah huvnae even dented it!

Mike Oxley

Cornwall Ontario, Canada

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“Ah’ll be needin’ a bluidy beak transplant!”

Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
Cooper Marsh, Lancaster, Ontario, Canada
November 13, 2011

How to photograph Woodpeckers or pure luck really helps.

The day was a beauty – sunny, clear and 18 degrees (64 American), and I decided to visit The Marsh. Lovely and quiet it was, too. A nice change from The Upper Canada Trails. I had the old Bigma on the cam and was set for anything, but with my luck, I’d probably be needing my macro lens. Bound, determined and optimistic, however, I set out along the trail and reached the boardwalk.

As I may have mentioned before, that boardwalk requires constant vigilance whilst walking along it as the boards are rather a little worse for wear and one is prone to frequent tripping due to the uneven slats. Looking down is mandatory. And the railings are equally fragile, providing little if any support. One of the reasons for the fragility is the constant assaults by woodpeckers.

I heard a rapid drumming, looked up, tripped, profanity uttered, and spotted one miscreant Woodpecker, bashing away. I got the tripod set up, extracted one of the legs from the gap in the boards and grabbed a couple of shots. I tried moving a little closer, tripped again, more profanity, and the delightful wee bugger beat wings for the horizon. Still more profanity. Or so I thought. I watched it fly away and land on the dead tree (on the right) close to the railing. I stumbled my way over, profanity all the way, keeping an eye on the bird, and managed to get quite close. Then there was the challenge of setting up the gear all over again. Tripod extracted from yet another gap in the boards then much adjustment of the tripod head to try and find the bird. But the bird cooperated.

A good thing because, apart from my wee friend, the foul-mouthed squirrel,

the only other wildlife I came across were the scrounging Chickadees. Duly enticed and fed, of course.

Sony Alpha 700, Sigma 17 to 500 at 500 mm
iso 400, multi-pattern metering, aperture priority F11.0, 1/640 second

Artwork Comments

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