American Three-toed Woodpecker Recipe
1) Travel many hours by car to the far SW
corner of Kansas...and then for good measure, proceed just a
2) Drive to the picnic area at the
Cimarron National Grassland along K-27
3) Park your vehicle and walk to the
4) Bird will immediately appear 6-8 feet
up on the first elm due east
5) If this doesn't work, please go back
to step 1 and repeat ;-)
Seriously, the long drive was worth the
numerous views of an amazing woodpecker (first
record of this species in Kansas). Known to some as "Trey" or
"C-3TO" he was first discovered by a party of 4 birders (Matt
Gearheart, Aaron Mitchell, Will and April Chatfield-Taylor) on
July 3rd. He was last seen on July 10th.
When I first saw him on July 9th, I was a
bit surprised at how oblivious he was to me and other birders.
Fresh and not-so-fresh sap "holes" were visible at a variety
of heights around the tree. It made me wonder how long he had
been present before being discovered.
His temporary home was a small grove of
elms and a couple cottonwoods around a small picnic/play area.
The Cimarron River flows nearby (typically underground) and
provides enough water for this small pocket of trees. The
surrounding land of the Cimarron National Grassland is
primarily composed of sagebrush, yucca, and cacti.
I saw Oklahoma and Texas license tags on
the vehicles driven by some visitors. It was a nice feeling to
see a bird in Kansas attracting these out of state trekkers.
It was even stranger to realize that in all likelihood their
drive home was much shorter than mine!