© Gerhard Hofmann.
Luckily, the birds at our camping site were used to people. We offered some fruits on a branch and it took them just a day until they detected them.
Unfortunately, they always went straight to the fruits (grapefruits and watermelon cut in half) and as soon as they were done they left. So we could watch the birds quite nicely but there was no chance for the pictures I wanted.
I figured that we would find some nice birds in the Lower Rio Grande area of Texas so I had ordered some wax worms, a bait most insectivorous birds can't resist. Now was the time to try them.
From the moment I offered the wax worms the woodpeckers changed their mind and searched the tree for the worms (if you offer them on tree with a rough bark they hide in the small cavities and cracks) the fruits were only second choice. This was exactly how I wanted the woodpeckers to act. One more day and I would take the photos.
But things didn't work out as I thought. I forgot to close the lid of the box were I stored the worms and the mockingbirds had a great time emptying it.
So I waited the next morning sitting in the blind and hoping that the bird at least will search for the worms. They did !!!!!!! They even found some worms they obviously didn't find the days before.
The morning was just fabulous the birds were very active and searched a lot even very low just a foot above the ground. I could take picture after picture and at 10 a.m. I decided I have enough good shots. And anyway it was time to pick up Claudia at another location as we had to leave for our next destination. I was just done with storing everything in the car as an Elegant Trogon showed up at exactly the same spot the woodpeckers were searching for food. The bird behaved like it was visiting the place regularly, but sadly we never stayed at the camping place until 10 a.m. so I guess we never had the opportunity to see it. Needless to say there was no chance to take a picture, and we never saw this magnificent species again. But now I have another species on my wish list something for the next year. After all what would life be without a long species wish-list. The next time I know that not always the early bird gets the worm sometimes it pays to be late.
Although the birds were quite tame I used my longest lens combination (500mm + 1.4x extender = 700mm). The reason: I wanted to have a very narrow angle of view so that there were no fences or buildings in the background (with a shorter lens you get the bird just as big in the picture but you pick up way more background). I used a flash for most of the pictures because with woodpeckers you never know whether they will feed on the sunny side of the tree trunk or whether they like the shadow side more.
Gerhard Hofmann photographed this bird in April 2006 in Texas. For use of this, or other photos, contact Gerhard Hofmann at: Gerhard@hofmann-photography.de
Golden-fronted woodpeckers are found in Texas and are common in most woodlands.