Woodpecker

Our last morning in Naukuchiatal was the kind that made us want to stay on. For the first time on this trip I saw a woodpecker. It came and sat down on a tree in sunlight in front me while I was standing with a camera in hand. I’m sure I’ve seen the Greater Yellownape (Chrysophlegma flavinucha after 2008, earlier Picus flavinucha) before, perhaps even in Kumaon. This is one of the larger woodpeckers in these sub-Himalayan forests, and prefers to forage in the lower parts of trees, and so is more easily visible to the casual watcher. But I’ve never seen it so close and clearly.

We were on the deck overlooking the lake in our hotel in Naukuchiatal. Just as I turned from my previous subject to face the lake the bird flew to perch on the limb of a large tree in front of us. The mellow light of the morning fell on the broken bark of the tree, and on the deep moss covering parts of the limb. The green back of the woodpecker was the same colour as the moss, and the yellow nape was a bright flash against it.

The bird circled the limb quickly, pecking at the bark rapidly. It didn’t drill; it was more intent at poking into the holes in the wood. I was fortunate to catch a photo just as it found its prey. Unfortunately, I can’t make out what it has in the beak. Unfortunately, I’ve not seen a list of its prey species, so I don’t even have an educated guess. All I figured from this is that the next time I’m in such forests I’ll carry a macro lens and look more closely at broken bark for insects.