Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Northern Flickers and More

I have taken many pictures this summer but due to ongoing computer woes, have had difficulty editing them and adding them blog posts. Last week, I finally replaced the laptop with Vista OS, truly the worst OS I have ever worked with, and have a sleek new MacBook. Setting up a new computer is rather like packing and moving, and I have spent time sorting and adding files to the new platform. Blog reading and writing have taken a back seat. As well, I have set up a secure wireless network and replaced our eight year old wireless router. I am no longer supplying the neighbourhood with a free wireless signal. I still have to figure out how to get the little netbook online with Windows XP, and The Becka's iPod Touch, but those are minor details.

Earlier this summer, I pulled into the driveway after work and noticed a different bird amongst the robins who were digging in the lawn for grubs. I went inside to get my camera and the bird remained while I took a number of pictures. It was a Northern Flicker, a bird I have found very difficult to photograph. There were several of them near our camp on Manitoulin Island and we would scare them off the road when we walked by. They were difficult to see before they flew off. Unlike other woodpeckers, they often feed on the ground and like ants and other insects. I was delighted to find one in our yard and it flew into a tree and posed for more shots.

The first bird I saw for my January bird count this year was a Pileated Woodpecker, an unexpected surprise. I see them infrequently but spotted this one on our last morning on Manitoulin Island. As I was taking pictures on the roadside. a car stopped to see what I was looking at. The couple had never seen a Pileated Woodpecker before and were very happy to view this female.

We see Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers frequently in our area, but the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a more elusive bird. I have seen two males this year including this one found at dusk one evening. Like the Red-bellied Woodpecker, this bird is not named for its more prominent features, its yellow belly being almost indistinguishable.

I still want to find the other Ontario woodpeckers, the Three-toed, Black-backed, and Red-head species. The range of the Three-toed and Black-backed is north of us but they are sometimes irruptive in the winter and can be found in the south of the province. Maybe this winter will bring them, not that I am rushing the seasons in my quest to increase my bird list!


  1. I've been lucky to see the Three-toed and Black-backed Woodpeckers here in far northern Minnesota. They are fairly regular winter visitors. Flickers are one of my favorites. Aren't they beautiful? During fall we see many of them on the roadsides in the country gorging on grasshoppers.
    I haven't heard anything positive about Windows Vista. Good luck with your new Mac!

  2. Ruth,

    Such beautiful photos. You always get such great shots.

    We saw a woodpecker on our outing yesterday. I will be posting it in the next day or two. I told the boys I wasn't sure what kind it was but that if I could get a half decent shot, Ruth would know. :-) I didn't get the best shots, but maybe you can tell from one of them. It flew very close to me and I was amazed that it tolerated our presence as well as it did.

    Glad you have your computer pretty much up and running. Setting up a new computer is one job I don't look forward to.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. Have a great day.

  3. I see the flicker all the time, but they are fast, and I've never gotten a photo. I find their feathers frequently. Nice shot. Like the other woodpeckers too. I see the Downy and supposedly we have sapsuckers and three-toes also.

  4. We have a couple pairs of Pileated Woodpeckers in our area. I really enjoy them.


  5. You captured some great photos of woodpeckers. They're all beautiful.

  6. I think you managed quite well in getting a couple of fabulous shots of the flicker. The second picture really shows off the colors in this beautiful bird. I have seen the flicker more this year then last...but that could be because I didn't know what I was looking at before. I spotted a yellow-bellied sap sucker on Zeller trail in early June. I guess that was a lucky find for me.

    Congrats on the new computer. You are just full of new toys these days :)

  7. I am sure you will enjoy your new computer,oh pardon me,Mac.The pictures are great.The correction to Mac was because my son,who has a Mac would think I was almost swearing by calling it a computer.LOL

  8. Thanks for the comments. I finally got all our wireless devices connected tonight and hope to catch up on blog reading tomorrow. This was Mac's first post, Ruth.
    Cheryl, I went out looking for a new computer first this month and got sidetracked and bought a new car too. A bad month for spending for sure! I hope I don't repeat it for another 10 years.

  9. I love woodpeckers and these are all glorious specimens. I have never seen the 3-toed or black-backed woodpeckers either. I hope you get to see them and then post photos on your blog!

    Sorry about all the computer woes. Glad you are back in the game!

  10. Great photographs! I know we have Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers around, but for the life of me I can't seem to photograph one or see one close to our feeders.


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