With first light on Saturday morning, I left the Diamond Peak trailhead toward Sheephead Corral. Here in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness the forest is a wonderful mixture of Western Larch and Engelmann Spruce with a scattering of firs. It had rained the night before and the blueberry understory glistened with water droplets. About a mile up the trail, the forest opened into a wide and long open bald filled with flowers. The bald extended north over the top of the hill for a third of a mile and was at least a tenth of a mile wide. I settled to study closely the abundant lupines, larkspurs, and groundsels that were blooming.
After a while, I realized that a Hairy Woodpecker was scolding loudly from a small group of trees to my west. I was several hundred feet from the clump and should not have been bothering the woodpecker in the least but here in the wilderness maybe they are more sensitive. I stood up to walk over to investigate. As I moved closer the female woodpecker screamed loudly and flew from the top of one tree to another in this small clump. The male called from the main forest another few hundred feet to the west. Several large standing snags were in this clump and I searched quickly to see if I could spot a hole but never found one. I had several excellent looks at the woodpecker. A few times I heard the chattering of young in the nest calling loudly for more food! After a few minutes I decided I should let them be and I moved out of the small clump of trees and back over the ridge out of their sight.
It was a great blessing to enjoy this wonderful wild moment in this spectacular wilderness. I will remember this experience well into the future.
Beautiful shots. Interesting that the hairy woodpecker has no red on it. I have never seen one, and never seen a woodpecker without a spot of red. R
Thanks, Judith. The males have the red on the back of the head. the females don’t. Here is a link to a picture of a female.http://birding.about.com/od/birdprofiles/ig/Woodpecker-Gallery/Hairy-Woodpecker.htm
They were really fun to watch. Still not sure why they were so upset with me. I’ve seen nests closer to seattle and the birds just ignored me entirely and went about finding food and delivering it to their young.