There is a special gathering place, hidden in the woods near my home here on Salt Spring Island where songbirds bathe and woodpeckers drum and the ravens call by the crystal-clear pond. It has inspired some of the poetic words and images in my book, Delta of the Ravens and has served as a beautiful, shady retreat during our summer heat waves.
And now that summer has officially arrived, I've been revisiting some of my favourite bird patches like this one just off Baker Road. One late morning, a few days after the solstice, I stayed by the pond, listening to the call of warblers and chickadees, mesmerized by the mysterious reflections in the pond. Then, a friendly dog surprised me all of a sudden and something caught my eye in the forest. It was a handsome, male Hairy woodpecker flying from one tree to another, excavating up and down each trunk. I followed him with my 300 mm telephoto lens, waiting to see if he would head into the light. He must have read my mind because not long after I started photographing him, there he was in the spotlight.
This portrait shot, which is my favourite, is the last photo I took. I love the way this fellow seems to be glancing at me curiously even though I was at quite a distance. I’m so grateful he let me stay long enough to capture this shot!
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