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Posts Tagged ‘juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker’

Facebook reminded me earlier today that exactly two years ago I posted a photo of a Red-headed Woodpecker and as soon as I saw it, I realized that it is an almost perfect companion to the photo that I posted yesterday.  Yesterday’s image showed the flight feathers of a Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) from underneath and the earlier image shows them from above.

Here is the posting in its entirety from December 1, 2013:

I suspect that I may qualify as a stalker, because I spent over thirty minutes on Friday sitting on a fallen tree, observing every movement of a juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) high in the oak trees.

The small branches and the shadows made it almost impossible to get a clear shot of the little bird, but they did not keep me from trying. I was really fortunate to get this shot of the woodpecker as it took off from one of its perches with an acorn in its mouth and gave me a glimpse of its beautifully-patterned wings. As I understand it, when the Red-Headed Woodpecker becomes an adult, its wings will be pure black and white, so I am glad that I was able to get the shot of the black dots.

After I posted this photo, I noticed that there is a least one acorn jammed into a crack in the bark just above the top edge of the bird’s tail, mostly likely a snack that it has cached for future consumption.

woodpecker_flying_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The sky was heavily overcast on Saturday as I focused on a Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) high in a broken-off tree at Huntley Meadows Park. The woodpecker was mostly in the shadows and I was having real troubles getting a clear shot of it. Then I got lucky.

The woodpecker flew off and then immediately returned to the same spot and I managed to press the shutter at just the right moment to capture the bird in flight.

I love the way the jagged edges of the tree mirror the shapes of the wings of the woodpecker, giving this image an almost abstract quality. The almost monochromatic color palette and simple composition enhance that abstract feel for me.

Red=headed woodpecker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I heard the now familiar call of a Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) and saw a flash of white as a bird flew to a new perch high in the trees. I maneuvered about trying to get a clear visual pathway to the bird and managed to get a few shots before the bird flew away.

A moment of confusion came upon me when I looked at the photos, because my Red-headed Woodpecker did not have a red head. Was I wrong in my initial identification? The wing pattern was certainly right for a Red-headed Woodpecker and I could see some small patched on red on the mostly brown head. Only then did I realize that this was almost certainly a juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker that had not yet transitioned to the trademark identifying feature of this species.

I’m including a couple of shots of the juvenile along with a shot of an adult that I took of an adult Red-headed Woodpecker earlier in the week, in case some readers are not familiar with the beautiful species of woodpecker.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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