Sunday, November 12, 2017

Back With More Backyard Birds!

Yesterday while doing some errands outside I heard the distinctive cackle of a bird I know well: the Belted Kingfisher.

Grabbing my camera and monopod, I went into the backyard, which is close to a small pond.  I soon spotted the Kingfisher and lucky me it landed nearby on my neighbor's Purple Martin house.


Knowing this bird is one of the (pun intended) flightiest in that it never seems to stay put for very long, I quickly zoomed in, focused and shot.
I took these three shots and then the Kingfisher took off.  I'm very pleased to have these three quality images that a bird I've long contended is one of the most difficult to photograph.

The Belted Kingfisher announces its presence with that high-pitched call but it's been my experience that seeing it and getting decent pictures of it are two different matters.
From the Purple Martin house, the Kingfisher then flew on the other side of the pond to this tree where it landed.  I was fortunate to get off three more shots, with this one being the best.

Definitely a cool and successful encounter!
Last weekend, I heard familiar sounds from another old feathered friend: the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

I had noticed a prolonged pecking sound the day before and figured it was a Downy Woodpecker or the Red-bellied Woodpecker, both common visitors to my backyard feeders.
The next day I was on my back porch and I heard the thumping sound again.

It suddenly hit me:  I bet it's the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  I knew exactly where to look because, for several years now, this bird (maybe the exact same bird, maybe not) has come to a certain tree in the outer part of my yard.
I slowly and quietly worked my way toward the tree and, lo and behold, there it was! This type of woodpecker has a partially red head and red throat too.

So I got my camera (no monopod this time) and was able to take several photographs of the Sapsucker in action, putting yet more holes into that tree.  I wish I could say the type of tree. I should know it.  When I find out, I'll add that to this post.
This morning I was back on the porch reading the Sunday paper.  The bird activity at my nearby feeders was pretty busy, especially after I refreshed the Bark Butter (pictured) from Wild Birds Unlimited in Mt. Pleasant.

This Downy Woodpecker was feeding on some of my other goodies.  I was thrilled to get such a sharp shot of this small and beautiful woodpecker.


Here's another recent photo. A lovely, partially red Northern Cardinal found our tiki torch a good place to light and contemplate life perhaps.
I like the greenish tint to this photo of another Northern Cardinal that was enjoying a seed cake.

Not sure why the green is so prevalent in this shot, but I like the contrast with the red bird.
Last weekend while photographing the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker I also spotted this small bird. I'm not sure what it is.

I really like the branch and the leaves and the whole setting really, plus my image of the bird is sharp and its head is turned just right to make such a nice photograph.
This is the same bird with slightly different lighting. I'm going to whatbird.com to post these photos so I can get a positive ID.  I'll share that when I get that!

As always, whatbird.com's bird identification forum came through for me.  This is an Eastern Phoebe. One response to my post said the bird's  dark head and little or no eye ring are good field marks.


I'll leave you with this:  Bird on the left (Eastern Phoebe) to the bird on the right: "My you're looking stiff today. Do you feel OK?" Any other caption ideas?

Thanks for reading!
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