Wednesday, April 16, 2014

eastern Latah county Black-backed woodpecker, 4/13/14

Hi All - 

I found a female Black-backed Woodpecker (BBWO) this past Sunday (4/13) along the Potlatch Canyon Trail above the Potlatch R. This is a fairly tough species to find in Latah Co., only my third in the county (but also not a species I spend much time looking for!)

The area is a ~5 mile loop trail along the Potlatch R. southeast of the hamlet of Helmer (~40 minute drive east of Moscow). The trailhead is ~3 miles southeast of Helmer off Park Rd. (NF 1963) just on the north side of the Potlatch R. bridge. The specific location I found the BBWO was within a mile of the trailhead. Starting along a paved trail follow the loop trail (counter-clockwise) where it heads up within several hundred yards, pass through the fence/gate, and a bit farther beyond a small clearing to a stand of Lodgepole Pines. The female BBWO was just off the trail in this stand of Lodgepole. They tend to be fairly quiet foragers so you always need a bit of luck to find them. The coordinates were 46.7762, -116.4558 from my Birdlog app.

The whole loop trail is well worth hiking for a variety of typical conifer forest species. In addition to the BBWO I had Pileated, Hairy, Red-naped Sapsuckers, and flickers so it's a good area for woodpeckers. Within a month most of typical forest nesting vireos, warblers, flycatchers, etc. will also be in this area. The trail is non-motorized although nearby target shooting can sometimes be a bit annoying (but easy to get away from).

 thanks, Charles.

Charles Swift
Graduate Student in Environmental Science
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho
46°43′54″ N, 116°59′50″ W

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