Two evenings ago I spent time observing and photographing the Red-naped Sapsuckers at their nesting cavity in an aspen in the Targhee National Forest. By photographing at a slightly different angle my exposure difficulties were not as evident as the evening I wrote about earlier this week.
I believe the exposure problems I had that night were that in the background I had the darkest shadows of the evergreens, aka a black hole, with the bright whites of the aspen trunk in high contrast against the blacks. I had never used -4.0 EV before and even that was not controlling the blown out whites. By having the sunlit, green boughs of the evergreen in the background instead of darkest shadows I could manage the whites through exposure compensation.
The photo I am sharing today is representative of what I have been hoping to capture of sapsuckers with the adults feeding their young with the heads of chicks sticking out. I have been hoping for these images since June of 2014 when I found some nesting House Wrens in the Targhee National Forest that were sharing that nesting cavity tree with a nesting pair of Williamson’s Sapsuckers and it feels marvelous to have accomplished this goal.
This image shows the moment after the adult Red-naped Sapsucker had landed at the nesting cavity and the chick stuck its head out and how it placed its bill over the bill of the adult to take the food from its parent. I certainly would not call it a “tender” moment because the chick is quite aggressive while taking the food from the adult but I think it is interesting behavior and I enjoyed watching the interaction between the adult and chick.
I believe that there is only one chick in the nesting cavity because I never heard more than one chick call from the nest. Last evening the behavior of the chick had changed and it wasn’t calling non stop like it had been on previous evenings plus it was sticking its head further out of the opening than it has been and I believe that the chick will fledge and leave the nest very soon.
Although photographing the Red-naped Sapsuckers at the nesting cavity has been frustrating at times it has also been very rewarding to observe all the action of the sapsucker family.
Life is good.