Late yesterday afternoon I answered a comment from "Giggles" regarding the pileated shot I'd run with that post. I said I hoped to capture a better shot of the woodpeckers now that I'd started resupplying suet blocks as part of the fall/winter feeding routine—and mentioned that the big birds had already begun returning to the dooryard as part of their daily routine.
About then, I casually looked out my deskside window. Huh? What's that in yonder box elder tree?
In one of those amazing coincidences you hate to mention because it sounds too hokey to be true—there, even as I proclaimed my pileated portraiture intentions, sat one of the very birds themselves, perched on a limb perhaps twenty-five feet from where I sat. Actually, herself, since the pileated in question was a female. She was busily whacking away at what remained of a suet block which I'd put out the day before, and which sometime during the night, the raccoons had dragged up, wire cage and all, onto the limb.
Just as I grabbed my camera, the male pileated flew in. Unfortunately, I had the setting on "autofocus," which was problematic given the lighting conditions. While the lens was busy seeking this way and that, as I fumbled at the switch, the female flew off, leaving only the male for my through-the-window shot.
Is this image better than yesterday's? Giggles gets to make that call…but I think so. Though it's still not the one I'm after—one of those every-feather-in-detail poses which was not going to happen here given the backlit situation.
However, the annual game of sneak-and-snap has just begun…