Saturday, July 13, 2013

White-headed Woodpeckers in Idaho City

On June 6 we headed up to the Idaho City area north of Boise on Highway 21 to look for a few goodies that had been found there recently. Our first priority was relocating a White-headed Woodpecker nest hole that had been reported to IBLE by another birder a few days earlier.

On the way up we saw a Spotted Sandpiper perched on a rock in Mores Creek.

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Spotted Sandpiper on Mores Creek, Boise County. June 6, 2013.

Lucky for us, the nest hole was very easy to find, thanks to its conspicuous location. White-headed Woodpeckers in this area typically nest in Ponderosa pine about 15 feet off the ground, but this one was using the back of a speed limit sign.

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White-headed Woodpecker on Shaw Gulch Road, Boise County. June 6, 2013.

We’ve looked for these guys in the area before, and even heard one call a few weeks earlier, but this was our first soul-satisfying view. We spent lots of time watching the bird as it went about its routine.

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White-headed Woodpecker on Shaw Gulch Road, Boise County. June 6, 2013.

We enjoyed watching the male poke its head out of the nest, and captured a short video clip. Wait for the end, when it snatches an insect out of the air before flying away.

White-headed Woodpecker in nest hole near Idaho City, Boise County. June 6, 2013.

We followed it to its new perch, and watched it preen for a few minutes.

White-headed Woodpecker preening near Idaho City, Boise County. June 6, 2013.

We’ll definitely be back to see how these guys are doing later in the year. Our next stop of the day was the Granite Creek parking area north of Idaho City, where a Red-eyed Vireo and some Red Crossbills had been reported a few days earlier. We didn’t find either of those, but did photograph a Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler and Song Sparrow.

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Cedar Waxwing at Granite Creek Parking Area, Boise County. June 6, 2013.

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Yellow Warbler at Granite Creek Parking Area, Boise County. June 6, 2013.

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Song Sparrow at Granite Creek Parking Area, Boise County. June 6, 2013.

A little ways south of here we slowed down to look at some of the birds that were active in a flooded area alongside Highway 21. We spotted a Gray Catbird singing its heart out, and also heard Western Wood-pewees almost everywhere we went.

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Gray Catbird on Highway 21, Boise County. June 6, 2013.

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Western Wood-pewee on Highway 21, Boise County. June 6, 2013.

It must have been our lucky day, because on the way back home we actually spotted one more White-headed Woodpecker, this time a female, foraging on a tree right alongside the road. We pulled into the end of the private drive next to the tree and watched it feed for a few minutes.

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White-headed Woodpecker along Highway 21, Boise County. June 6, 2013.

White-headed Woodpecker foraging near Idaho City, Boise County. June 6, 2013.

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