Lewis's Woodpecker Shoot (4 December 2016)
* *  Mike Umscheid PHOTOGRAPHY & STORM CHASE BLOG   * *

About This Shoot
Date: 4 December 2016
Location: Pottawatomie State Fishing Lake #2, Kansas
Shoot Type: Wildlife
A Lewis's Woodpecker, which is considered rare in Kansas (especially anywhere east of far southwestern Kansas), was first reported in late November and was hanging around the campground at Pottawatomie State Fishing Lake just east of Manhattan. I made a day trip out of it (four hours one-way), and I photographed this bird for about an hour after the sky cleared out in the early afternoon.

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4 December 2016

Lewis's Woodpecker Shoot

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 15:43:32 -0600
Lewis's Woodpecker posing in great afternoon light at Pottawatomie SFL. 4 December 2016
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

Sun, 4 Dec 2016 20:35:09 -0600
Lewis's Woodpecker at Pottawatomie SFL in afternoon light shortly after clouds parted. 4 December 2016
A rare bird created a buzz in the Kansas birding community in late November this early winter. The bird is a Lewis's Woodpecker, which is typically found in higher elevation areas of the western United States. The bird is not quite as rare across far southwest Kansas, which is closer to the eastern edge of its native range, but this bird was well east of there, east of Manhattan. I took a chance to photograph this bird, a 4 hour drive from Dodge City. Low clouds covered the area where the bird was residing through early afternoon, but I felt confident enough that the low clouds would clear out quickly based on some short-term weather models I looked at. Sure enough, during the 1pm hour, the clouds broke up fairly quickly. The bird was in its previously observed location in the campground at the Pottawatomie state fishing lake on the southwest side of the lake, in the trees nearest the shore and fairly close to the dam. The bird was quite active, flying from tree to tree at times and was also noted preening quite a bit. A fun and successful chase!

(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)