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Posts Tagged ‘Campsis radicans’

I was delighted to spot this male Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge as it acrobatically pecked away at some seedpods hanging high in the trees. Fellow dragonfly enthusiast Walter Sanford commented on a Facebook posting that that the seed pods look like trumpet vine (Campsis radicans). Check out his 2011 blog posting entitled Trumpet vine fruit and seeds for more details on this plant.

Downy Woodpeckers are the smallest woodpeckers in our area, about 6 inches long (15 cm), and the lightest, about one ounce (28 g). Still, it was a bit surprising the way that the woodpecker was hanging on the seedpod as it hammered away at it.

During warmer weather Downy Woodpeckers eat mostly insects, but it looked to me like this one was trying to extract seeds from the pods. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “About a quarter of their diet consists of plant material, particularly berries, acorns, and grains.” Whatever the case, this woodpecker appeared to be determined and focused on his task.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I have known for a while that hummingbirds are attracted to trumpet vines, so I keep my eyes open whenever I pass a stand of them near the observation tower at Huntley Meadows Park. Yesterday morning I finally lucked out and spotted a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) in the midst of the trumpet vines (Campsis radicansand managed to capture these images, including one in which the hummingbird was resting for a few seconds on a branch before resuming her energetic activity.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Tracking a moving bird as it weaves its way in and of vegetation is a real challenge for a photographer and it seems almost miraculous when you manage to get any shots in focus. My skills were definitely tested last weekend when I spotted a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)  in a patch of trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) at my local marshland park.

I did manage to get a few clear shots in which there were no branches between me and the hummingbird, but mostly I tried to find little windows among the branches through which I could get a view of a part of the bird. I was standing on a boardwalk when I took these shots, so there was not much room for to maneuver to get better angles of view. Additionally, the trumpet vines were a pretty good distance away, so I had to crank out my telephoto zoom and even then had to crop the images.

I don’t often see hummingbirds, so I was happy to capture some shots of this beautiful bird as it flitted from flower to flower.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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