Sunday, September 16, 2012

Birds and Bees

Finally, at long last the marigolds I planted from seed are blooming.  I don't know what took them so long!    This one reminds me of a Latin dancer's skirt.

Seems this guy loves these flowers too.
So, today, when I have so much work to do, I keep finding myself distracted by what is going on outdoors.  Below is a snap of the part of my backyard I see when I walk out my back door and look up.  Notice the sky is white?  Very characteristic.  There is a Tennessee Williams play where a character says the sky is like a big clean white sheet of paper.  This was another one of those white Southern sky days.

But here is why I was distracted.  The bird activity in these trees today has been incredible! It started off early, when I heard this guy laughing.  He is a pileated woodpecker--pretty rare.  I can't believe I got a picture of him.  He is a really big bird--about 15 inches.  His beak is like a pencil.  He's the Woody Woodpecker bird, with a big red crest and loud laugh.  Today there were a pair of them hanging out banging on the pines around my house.

It was a truly woodpecker day.  I also saw several downy woodpeckers, a red belly woodpecker, and a couple of flickers.  Either there are a lot of insects right now, or the sap is running. And it wasn't only woodpeckers; I was very excited to see some female American redstarts.  These are little birds who flick up their tails and show the colorful underside--in females yellow.
As you can see, I am a bit of a birder.  I don't have a lot of pictures because as you know if you watch birds, it sometimes is all you can do to fix your binoculars on the little guys before they flit away.  And of course, my camera isn't really all that good for close ups.


  1. That is so funny that you saw a woodpecker ... today I believe spotted one with black and white spots pecking on my neighbor's tree. I have never seen one up close. I was not quick enough with my camera. Glad that you were the lucky one because I am not a birder but still would love to learn. Reading this reminded me of the movie "The Big Year" with Steve Martin... love that movie. Maybe you can go for one yourself someday.
    Lovely marigolds too!

  2. The other day a tremendous pounding noise started up nearby. I went out to the porch to see if someone was wielding a jackhammer, and it was a woodpecker pecking away at the aluminum window frame. (Not being a birder, I don't know which kind of woodpecker it was.) Its mate was a few feet away, excavating the ash tree.

    Gorgeous shots of the pileated woodpecker and marigolds!

  3. wow what a great photo of the woodpecker!