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Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Flicker

 
flicker in tree

Only occasionally do I wish that I were more of a morning person. Days like today are one of those. The air was cool but the sun bright and the space between the house and the aspen trees was filled with birds. They were engaged in various occupations, notably a member of the woodpecker family was knocking loudly on the wood trim of our house. OK, I'm not so happy about that.

flicker in tree

I saw and heard a house wren, sparrows, robins, starlings (sigh- not exactly a quality bird), the guilty woodpecker-- a downy, and the fairly regular morning visitor-- the yellow-shafted Flicker. I've been trying to get a picture of one all summer to show you. In fact, I thought that I had posted a rather poor picture of one this spring, but I guess I must have found something better to use the day I was thinking of it.

flicker on log

The Flicker is actually a woodpecker. It's kind of large, larger than a big robin. They love to hide in the edge of the trees and walk out into the lawn. I often hear them before I see them. Their voice isn't very melodic; the best way I can describe it is that they sound like the squealing of a rusty gate hinge! Since none of the pictures I got today is really great either, I had to decide which one to show you more closely. The blurry one above is at least good to show you the black bib the Flicker wears. (Don't confuse it with the Meadowlark which also has a black bib, but the Meadowlark is mostly yellow)

flicker on log

So after I had been chasing the Flicker around the tree and lawn with my lens for a while, (how do the birds know where you are, and manage to keep a branch between you and the camera?) it became engrossed in banging some insects out of this rotting log, and I choose to bring this one in closer. You can see the red stripe around the back of its head, the long beak, and the light striping on its back.

flicker on log

yellow-shafted flicker feathersFinally, I took a picture of a couple of feathers that I had collected some time in the past. These show why this is called the "yellow-shafted" Flicker. There is a "red-shafted" variety found in the western US.

For some reason I can't really explain I really just like the Flicker. Hope you do too!



See Meadowlark- A Glimpse

9 comments:

betchai said...

yes, i enjoy your pictures of the flicker, i especially love 5th and the feather photos :)

WillOaks Studio said...

I've read about, but never spotted a Flicker myself...And your close up photo, with the grasses in the foreground, is very artful!!

Jennifer Shirk said...

He's a beaut! I love bird watching!
My in-laws live on a marshy area and really see some interesting birds. They even got a book so they could identify them. :)

Cher said...

hi there! thank you so much for stoppin' by in my blog. bird watching is always a relaxing thing to do but i must say photographing them is a real challenge. your two last photos stand out!

rainfield61 said...

Bird watching is in fact very interesting, your flicker is lovely.

jakill said...

Hi there. I recently caught up with your blog again after problems getting back on line when I moved house. Have just spent a good ten minutes reading through some back posts. All as fascinating as this one. Thank you

Ratty said...

Your pictures are enough that I got a pretty good look at the bird. I had the same problem with blue jays all summer. I felt like they were teasing me. Even if the picture isn't perfect, it's just fun knowing they're out there.

Shinade aka Jackie said...

I love your shot of the woodpecker. I got a shot of one that has started hanging around here months ago.

I had no idea that he was anything unusual until another photographer commented that he had never seen one in it's natural habitat!!

To me it just looks like red headed woodpecker. I wish I were more informed on some of the birds and things I get pictures of.

I love your close up shot of him in the grass. It is simply wonderful!!

I see you and Ratty chat often. I love Ratty!! he cracks me up and is a wonderful photographer also!

I am so glad I stopped over. I hope you have a great week!!
Jackie:-)
I

Sharkbytes said...

Hi Betchai- Yes, that's the best picture for sure. But I'll keep trying for even better!

Hi WillOaks- They are much more secretive than many woodpeckers, and with less red they aren't as noticeable.

Jennifer- Birdwatching is one of the most popular outdoor activities there is. Go in-laws!

Cher- the camera with more zoom has improved my bird pictures A LOT! Gotta have a long lens to catch 'em.

Rainfield- maybe that's why I like it. It IS interesting... so different from most woodpeckers.

Oh jakill! You will make my head swell... but welcome back!

Ratty- yes, getting pics when the bird is looking natural can help with ID even if they are not perfect. Thanks.

Hi Jackie- Yes, Ratty and I "met" via our blogs, but we seem to have a lot in common. Glad you like the pics. A true "red-headed" woodpecker has a very round head that is bright cherry red all over. You wouldn't miss that one! But I don't see them very often. Just one this year.

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