I’m a little off my schedule at the moment due to the little issue I had to take care of in the last post. With that all past us now (and if you still think Linda isn’t the 2012 UB you need to go back and read the finely tuned analysis on the previous post), I can try to get through another entry in the Wisconsin Birds series. This one is actually a bit of a mystery and hoping one of my fine readers can help me out a bit. We were up on the cliff trail above Devil’s Lake when I heard a very familiar drumming a little ways into the woods (opposite cliff side). I’ve been diligently searching for a Pileated Woodpecker without much luck so every time I hear that rattle I jump into search mode and start tracking. Anyone watching me would have been trying to hold back a laugh. Finding woodpeckers can be difficult in a dense forest – I swear their drumming echoes off of every try in the area. Usually I walk to what appears to be the center point of the echoes and move my head in various directions looking for the the sharpest rattle position.. then walk a ways in that direction and repeat. It looks stupid to onlookers, but it is effective. After about 3 cycles of this I came upon this:
My initial guess through the viewfinder was a Downy Woodpecker. Some doubt crept in as I was taking additional shots. The most interesting aspect was the bird had a yellowish tint to it – most noticeable behind the head and on the breast below the legs. Depending on how the light hit it, there seemed to be some yellow tint in the white areas on the back and wings. We have numerous Downy’s where we live and I’ve have had a lot of opportunities to photograph them. To my recollection, all of those Downy’s had very white highlighting and breast markings. I tried changing positions to get a better shot of the head but that was difficult to do and still avoid all the branches. The shot below was the best result, but a foreground branch managed to sneak in. This shot, however, brought up an additional concern. That beak is larger than most of the Downy’s around here which are smaller in relationship to the face. They also look sharper than the one sported by this specimen.
Hit the jump to read more about this mystery bird.