End of the line

I was watching this woodpecker work his way up a dead tree.  He was hidden behind the leaves of surrounding vegetation and I thought there was no way I would get  a good view of him but he kept going up.  Finally he reached the top and popped his head out from behind the leaves.  I guess he thought he was still protected or he just liked the clear view of the surroundings as he stayed in this spot for quite a while.

I guess patience pays off now and again!

Red-bellied Woodpecker
(Melanerpes carolinus )
Alpharetta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
350mm @ f/8 – 1/40 sec – ISO 200

Here’s how it’s done, son

One of the neat things about bird-watching this time of year is that there are so many baby birds around.  I was watching this pair of Downy woodpeckers and followed how one of them seemed to be feeding the other.

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At first, I didn’t know if it was just friendly sharing of food but on closer inspection, you can see that one (the one with a bright red stripe on the back of his head) is an adult and the other is a juvenile.  You can see the pale red patch on the top of the one to the right of this shot.  That’s the baby and it seems that he was hungry because they kept doing a dance on the side of the tree until Dad forked over some food.

Once again, I learn a little about nature while trying to get some good images.  What a great way to spend an afternoon.

Downy Woodpecker – Adult Male and Juvenile
(Picoides pubescens)
Alpharetta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
400mm @ f/8 – 1/40 sec – ISO 200

Gotcha!

So, I just pounded my head on the side of a tree to get some bugs to peek out of their hiding place then, Zap! I snag one with my tongue and there’s a mid-day snack.  The life of a woodpecker is so glamorous.

I don’t think I ever gave any thought to how a bird would snag a moving insect.  Kind of thought it would be like the Karate Kid catching a fly with chopsticks.  It’s more like an anteater burrowing into a termite mound but actually, the woodpecker’s tongue is like a spear with barbs on it.  They impale their prey with the tongue and the barbs pull the insects out of their holes and into the bird’s mouth.

The wonders of nature are all around us.  I love learning about this as part of my photographic journey.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
(Melanerpes carolinus )
Alpharetta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/8 – 1/15 sec – ISO 200

Red-headed Woodpecker

I didn’t realize how many woodpeckers we have right in my own backyard.  I was actually trying to capture a different one when this specimen came into view.  The one I had seen earlier was a Red-bellied woodpecker but this is the red-headed variety.  The two are similar but the red-bellied one has red on the back of the head only.

All of the woodpeckers seem to be quite fond of suet feeders but they are also easy to scare away.  At first, this one landed on the side of the dogwood tree where my suet feeder hangs but when he spotted me, zipped around the back side.  You can see he peeked around the side in the first image and only hopped out after a while of checking the situation first.

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I call this bird “he” but since the plumage of the male and female of this species are the same, I don’t know which this is.  I’m sure the birds can tell the difference so, I guess that’s all that counts.

Red-headed Woodpecker
Melanerpes erythrocephalus

Roswell, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/9 – 1/100 sec – ISO 800

North America’s smallest woodpecker

I’m learning quite a lot as I have been working with my new Tamron lens and watching the birds in my back yard.  This is one of the visitors that I have been trying to get a good image of recently.  This is a female Downy Woodpecker (the male has a red patch on the back of the head) that I was watching for a while.  They seem to be quite aware of my presence and often hide by circling around to the back of trees or fly off quickly when they see the slightest motion.

Fortunately for me, they seem to really like suet feeders and though they are easily spooked, they keep coming back.  I watched for a while and could see a pattern of how they usually approached the feeder the same way.  If I set up on the tree that they would land on before going to the feeder, I could catch a few shots before they jumped over there.

The other thing I learned is the mosquitoes will stay off of your arms and legs when you spray but they don’t mind biting you right through your shirt if you don’t spray that also.  Boy am I itchy!  Need to remember that for next time.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/8 – 1/100 sec – ISO 800