Sounds like the beginning of a 60s rock’n’roll song. Anyway, I found a few more images of the Ladder-backed Woodpecker when I was perusing my archives. These are all male of the species. I don’t know if you have seen them previously. I do know that a couple of them had never been published before. Click on any image to see an enlargement.
Another of the woodpecker species, is the Yellow-breasted Sapsucker. Often mistaken for a woodpecker, it and the Red-naped Sapsucker are not too frequent visitors here. Our local bird guides list them as “uncommon, not present every year”.
It is always nice to be able to photograph one close up, as I did this morning at Spring Creek Park. We saw it moving among the trees, so I drove my car among the trees. I was only about ten feet away to photograph this one. It has a red crown, and a bit of red on the neck below the beak. Forget the yellow belly. This specimen was a bit ratty looking, it’s plumage dirty, and the reds not very vivid. It probably hadn’t cleaned up yet from the recent rains.
In contrast, here is an older picture of a Red-naped Sapsucker. Notice the red nape and the red crown.
While were out we encountered this Double-crested Cormorant trying to swallow his Happy Meal™.
Why not end the day with another photo of one of my favorites, the Great Blue Heron.
Enjoy the pictures and click on either of them to see an enlargement.
First and foremost, I need to give credit to my dear friend, Shannon. She generously took up some of her valuable time to tutor me, and walk me through the process of uploading and embedding videos. I would say she done a fine job.
After publishing that “test” run in my last post, I thought I would go out and try for some more. My target was to get a video of a Great Blue Heron grazing along the water. Alas, none were to be seen. But lo and behold, I came across the same Ladder-backed Woodpecker, pecking the same hole in the same tree as my previous post. I took the opportunity to try to improve on that.
I again used my new Canon EOS 70D with a 100-400mm lens. I was in my vehicle, parked about 15 feet away. The bird was oblivious to me, since I was hidden in the car. The camera worked perfectly as advertised, the auto-focus stayed on track, and the exposure seemed to be right on the money.
Here is the result:
This video is best viewed from my blog, rather than from this e-mail.
When Ann and I were out getting photos for that last post, I came up on a Ladder-backed Woodpecker, hanging beneath a branch pecking away. I decided to punch the video button on the camera and record it. Since this is my first attempt at embedding a video in a post, I need you to check it out and see if you can view it properly.
Here it is. It may not be great, but it is all mine.
For best view, watch it on my blog proper, not from this e-mail.
The Lewis’s Woodpecker is a rarity in Texas, just a very few sightings per year. In fact, I had never seen one. I heard about a year ago that one had been seen down around the rodeo grounds at Junction, Texas, but I didn’t make it down to check it out. But a couple of days ago, my neighborhood friend, Carl Williams, spotted and photographed a bird that he couldn’t identify. We got together, looked at our field guides and discovered that it was the Lewis’s Woodpecker.
So this morning, Ann and I set out to see if we could spot it. We headed for Middle Concho Park, where Carl and seen it. He described the location where he had seen it so we headed there. Immediately, when we neared the area Ann spotted it atop a dead tree, about thirty feet above the ground. Lewis’s Woodpeckers have a tendency to hang around the same area, and even in the same tree. That was a fortunate break for us. It was added to my life list as Number 253, if you’re counting.
I wish the light could have been better, but when stalking any bird, and you only get one shot, you take what you can get. In this case, it was a harsh early morning sun. It was about 35 feet in the air so I was shooting upward at an angle with my Canon EOS 7D with 500mm lens and 1.4 teleconverter. Considering my distance from the tree, I was probably a good 50 yards from the subject.
While we were out there, we checked out the usual spots and discovered that the young Great Horned Owl was back in the same tree in Spring Creek Park as it was several days ago. Here is the photo that I got today, an image of him showing me his backside.
Further along the river we also spotted this juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron. He has a dour expression, and looking at that scat on the log, I wonder if he has a sour stomach. He was about 150 yards away across the river and we almost missed seeing him. Captured with my 500mm lens and 1.4 teleconverter, supported on my window with my Noodle.
Enjoy the photos. Click on any image to see an enlargement.
You, my dear readers, are giving me some large shoes to fill. Melissa (her blog) says I am an “awesome dude”. Cindy (her blog) says I have a “magnetic personality”. My friend Ross McSwain (his website) says “Bob, you are the best bird photographer that I have ever come across”. Of course, he is a personal friend of mine and he better danged well say that. 🙂
Anyway, after all those fine words, I find it difficult to keep coming up with subjects to write about. Each day, I stumble through my images and try to find some that I haven’t shown you. Or a story that I haven’t told you. On that subject I could actually think of many stories, but I have to decide which ones are fit for print.
So, today, I came across these photos of the Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris). They were taken on various occasions during my travels across west Texas and here at San Angelo State Park. At one time, pre-birding days, I thought any woodpecker with a red head was a Red-headed Woodpecker. Not so. The Ladder-backed Woodpecker has a red head, but so has the Red-bellied Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Red-naped Sapsucker and the Red-breasted Sapsucker. Some others have litle red spots but we won’t count them.
I tossed in the names of the sapsuckers, because they look like woodpeckers. So the mystery deepens even more. How about this? The Red-bellied Woodpecker doesn’t have a red belly. Not that you would notice. I think there is a pink tinge in the lower abdominal area.
Now if you look at the “ladder back”, you can also see the same patterns on the Gila Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, and lest we forget, those sapsuckers. So, IDing the woodpecker species can get a bit tricky. So I guess if I can ID them correctly, that make me an “awesome dude.
So there you have it. I am sure that someone will tell me about other distinctive differences that I missed, but this is my story and I am sticking with it. 🙂
Click on any image to see an enlargement. Have a great time enjoying them.
Whenever I see woodpeckers, I am reminded of the Woody, the Woodpecker cartoons that I used to see when I was a child growing up. As I remember it, though, I believe Woody was a Pileated Woodpecker. These pictures that I have here today are of a Ladder-backed Woodpecker. The male, I photographed yesterday morning. Both images of the female I captured earlier today. All were at San Angelo State Park in San Angelo, Texas. Enjoy the photos, and as usual, click on any of them to see enlargements.
I’ve gotten behind on my postss. This is a busy time of the year for me. I ‘ve been trying to get some birding time in, so when Suzanne and Sid Johnson said they wanted to get together Saturday it was a welcome respite. We started at San Angelo State Park, at the bird blind, then headed for the boat ramp. I think we saw around 27 species in all at the park.
Following that we head for the park near Spring Creek Marina. Lots of Eastern Bluebirds, Orange-crowned Warblers, Eastern Phoebes, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, and several others. I forgot to mention, that we had stopped at what we call Huntington Lake, and there were waterbirds or ducks of almost every description. Wigeons, Ducks, Merganzers, just to name a few.
All total for the five hours we spent was 43 species according to Ann’s count. As for photos, I didn’t get too much as I got into the birding aspect more than usual. I don’t think that any of what we saw presented a large photograph opportunity. However, I did come away with a nice small image of a Belted-Kingfisher and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker.
Click on either image to see an enlargement.