|Monday, 15 March 2010 19:01|
Florida 2010 – VI – Florida`s woodpeckers
Woodpeckers and their relatives are beautiful birds from Piciformes Order that we can see in diverse forms all around the world. In our European longitudes they are unfortunately quite shy and thus to make a picture of the Woodpecker is rather a matter of coincidence. I repeat again that birds in Florida are easily approachable and this applies to Woodpeckers I have seen there too.
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus), female, Sanibel Island
The good thing about all the birds that belong to Picidae Family is their quite similar call and thus even a observer from Europe can easily recognize the birds while birding overseas. Of course, the bird’s identification is very easy when we can see the bird but wee all know very well that hearing is something like a third eye for birders and that it can see through dense bushes.
I remember the variability and numbers of Woodpeckers we have seen in Canada in 2008 as well as my unsuccessful search for Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) that should have had their nesting burrows right in the campground we were in Okanagan lake area. Well, at the end, what I have got at that time were quite bad pictures of Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) and Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) that was hiding in the bushes for about 2 hours before I got some record shots – nothing special indeed! So it was no wonder that I did not expect to see much in Florida either – but the more I was surprised when I met the Woodpeckers in Florida this year. The first were Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) dwelling in a small palm tree refuge in the middle of vast swamps of Meritt Island National Wildlife Refuge on the Florida`s East coast. The small group of old palm trees with many visible hollows in their trunks were good signs that Woodpeckers would probably not be far. I stopped the car at the roadside, drew down the window and waited – after a while a pair of Northern Flickers really showed up and the male was close enough for me to take a decent shot.
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus), male, Meritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
The best spot for Woodpeckers for me was Sanibel Island at the western coast of Florida close to Fort Myers city – Sanibel Island itself is one of the best birding spots in USA. In the southern part of the island, close to the lighthouse I observed pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus), and Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) hiding in the bushes. But the best of all was the meeting with a female Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) north of J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge – right after the exit of the park I noticed large woodpecker in the trees high above me. I stopped the car and watched it with my binoculars to make sure it was the bird I had been looking for so desperately in Canada two years back. The female posed for a while on the top of the tall tree and let me make few record shots. I was miserable to see her leaving but she came back after a while and did a little performance for me – she pecked into the old wood hard in the search of some food while the splinters of wood spiralled down like a strange woody rain. Cars passing by slowed down sometimes but none really stopped to check properly what I was staring at – it must have been that either Pileated Woodpeckers are so common species that everybody overlooks it in Florida or I looked so odd to those people that they rather kept driving.
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) pecking female, Sanibel Island
And that is all I wanted to tell today – hope you like the pictures :-)
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|Last Updated on Thursday, 27 January 2011 17:43|