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Wednesday, 06 April 2011 11:01

100. Jubilee - White-backed Woodpecker


The last time I updated the list of photographed birds from Europe in September 2010 I counted 99 species. With great expectations I was looking forward to see what would be the hundredth species that I will take a photo of. At that time I had no clue that it would take more than 6 months until I would be able to update the list with the jubilee 100th bird. Maybe it was the trip to Namibia but more the bad weather and family stuff did not allow for more often birding during the winter so it all happened last Sunday when I was exploring a new area south of Bergen and encountered female White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos).


White-backed Woodpecker, female (Dendrocopos leucotos)


In fact I was heading to look at another perspective Capercaillie lekking site in the woods but it all took wrong direction – first the Bullfinches alongside the road delayed me for 1 hour without virtually any photo taken and then the melting snow and the swamp made me to turn back from my original destination. Heading back with the only perspective to make some pictures of Goldcrests in the woods I suddenly caught the beating sound of Woodpecker in nearby grove. I went in and found a Great-spotted Woodpecker-looking bird pecking into the stump, the only thing that distracted me was the strange dashing on the belly and unusual pattern on the back. I hid behind the trees and made a series of bad shots against sky. The bird seemed not to care so much so I tried to move to another side to have sun behind me. I got slightly better pictures and tried to get closer but it was way too much for the patience of the bird who has flown away to a nearby pine tree to watch me from a safe distance. Leaving the place I had a strange feeling that this might be my 100th species but I had to check it in the books later...


White-backed Woodpecker, female (Dendrocopos leucotos)


The weather got worse again but I decided to visit one more locality that should had hosted White-backed Woodpecker – the last time I visited that spot I found out that just next to the old forest there is a new shooting range based in abandoned quarry – not a favorable stuff for birds to nest! But even something worse was to happen – when I visited the spot last Sunday I found out the whole forest was cut down and that the few rotten tree stumps left on the cleared hill cwould not stand for very long when the strong winds will come. There were no White-backed Woodpeckers, only a pair of Great-spotted Woodpecker.


Great-spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) and remnants of the old forest


I downloaded the pictures from the camera on Monday evening and was happy to find out that the first Woodpecker I encountered on Sunday really was a female White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos). I hope to get better pictures with time; there are some other spots to watch these birds in the neighbourhood that will hopefully be left untouched for other generations...


White-backed Woodpecker, female (Dendrocopos leucotos)


Last Updated on Thursday, 07 April 2011 07:22
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