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Tag Archives: North Cascades Basecamp

What happens when two birds of different species get together and make a nest? Hybridization. According to an article by Kim Romain-Bondi in North Central Washington Audubon Society’s newsletter, The Wild Phlox, “these two species are sympatric, meaning that during the evolution process, they became two new species while inhabiting the same geographic region. Generally speaking in Washington, the Red-breasted live on the west side, the Red-naped on the east side of the Cascades……. These two species of sapsuckers are known to hybridize in south-central Oregon, northeastern California, along the California-Nevada border, and in southern Nevada.”

Kim has located a nest near one of the trails on the grounds of the North Cascades Basecamp which she and her husband own. It includes a male Red-breasted Sapsucker and female Red-naped Sapsucker. I was lucky enough to have her show me the nest in a water birch tree. We observed both birds going to and from the nest, catching bugs and visiting sap wells before returning to feed young. On one departure I observed that the male was carrying a fecal sack. These birds like to keep their nest tidy.

Now I don’t do a lot of bird photography. I love to bird and I love to make images however it’s often challenging for me to both well. I lack the really long telephoto lenses to get the extreme sharp close-ups so my bird images are mostly for documenting a particularly striking or unusual bird or one that is otherwise noteworthy. I thought this situation was noteworthy and worth recording.

Red-naped Sapsucker female


Red-breasted Sapsucker male


The landing – feet first


They always looked out of the cavity in all directions before exiting.


Sapsuckers make ‘wells’ in trees to get to the sap. They are evenly spaced in neat rows and the birds return to them year after year. Hummingbirds will also sip from the sap wells. I saw a Black-chinned hummingbird at this tree.


Yesterday, other birders observed that the birds were catching bugs; taking them to the sap wells and dipping the bugs before taking them to the youngsters in the nest. Sort of like coating cold cereal with sugar so the kids will eat it.


Here is the female rocketing out of the hole.


And here, the male is carrying a fecal sack away from the nest.


And there he goes!



Capturing the Shades of October

I will be teaching a fall photo workshop in October, hosted by the North Cascades Basecamp and Lodge. Up to ten photographers will have the opportunity to explore the Methow Valley with cameras and tripods in hand while I help them discover their own unique vision of fall colors and the Methow River October 5th through 7th. Beginning at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon, students will spend time in the classroom and in nature and in the comfy sitting room of the Basecamp Lodge, talking about, learning and practicing techniques that will improve and refine their photography skills. The serene backdrop of the forest and river will inspire photographers of all levels to slow down and experience the moment to create their own perfect fall photo.  Students will come to the workshop familiar with the workings of their own camera and other equipment, including a tripod. At the workshop they will learn and refine technical skills so that they can take their nature photography skills up to the ‘next’ level. In addition to techniques such as macro and landscape photography, the class will cover equipment, where and when to make images and the art of ‘seeing’.

$325/person includes workshop, 6 meals, 2 nights lodging and materials.
Locals rate:  $225/person includes workshop and 2 dinners.
Call or email Kim and Steve at the North Cascades Basecamp for more information

Contact me for more info on my About page.

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