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lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

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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.


1D3_2725PS 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 :-)

List of relevant articles about Florida

Florida 2010 – I – Anhinga, the snakebird

Florida 2010 – II – Pelican the bomber

Florida 2010 – III – Wakodahatchee, all in one

Florida 2010 – IV – Osprey, Florida`s fisher

Florida 2010 – V – Waders – not a simple task!

Florida 2010 – VII – J.N.D. Darling and chilly tropics

Florida 2010 – VIII – Little Estero Lagoon

Vultures of southern USA

Florida 2010 – IX – Sebastian Inlet State Park

Human – a friend or enemy?

Florida X - Egrets and Herons

Florida XI – close-up

Florida XII – Fort Desoto

Florida XIII – some more birds

Birds of Florida - Portfolio (article)

Portfolio - birds of Florida (photos)


Last Updated on Thursday, 27 January 2011 17:43
Comments (19)
  • Míla

    Ahoj Jirko, fotky máš, jako vždy zdařilé. Datla karolínského a zlatého bych skoro mezi šplhavce nezařadil - nevypadají na ně. Chocholatý je, jak vidno, bezesporu velký pracant, lítaj od něj třísky na všechny strany. Jedna otázka mimo: zajímalo, zda až do Bergenu zalétají na léto stěhovaví ptáci jako rorýs, vlaštovka, jiřička a břehule. Dík za odpověď.

  • Jirka Slama

    Ahoj Milo, dekuji za komentar.
    K Tvemu dotazu: ano vsechny tyto druhy sem zaletaji - resp. podle mapy ano, osobne jsem tu videl Vlastovky, Brehule a Rorysy obecne. Jsou to vsechno ptaci zimujici v Africe takze pruiletaji pomerne pozde na jare a zase brzy v lete odletaji zpet, jsou to velci cestovatele :-) Jinak jedna poznamka, ono je to mozna matouci ale zatimco Vlastovka, Jiricka a Brehule patri do Radu pevcu jako vetsina malych ptaku, Rorysi patri do Radu Svistounu do kterych patri jeste napr Kolibrici. Mej se pekne, zdravime z Bergenu.

  • Michele Williams  - ***!

    I am really enjoying viewing your photos from Florida. I live in Brevard County Florida, near the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Your photos are beautiful and I am enjoying reading your blogs. I currently shoot with a 50D but I am considering upgrading to either the 7D or the 5D MkII. Conventional wisdom says that the 7D is the obvious choice for wildlife. I shoot mostly wildlife but I also enjoy landscapes and macros, and the image quality of the 5D/II seems irresistable. Your blog on using the 5D /II for wildlife confirms my intuition. Thanks!

  • Jirka Slama

    Thanks a lot for visit and for your link Michael - I like your photos and it reminds me Florida - that amazing places I have visited not a long time ago! You are lucky to live in such a corner of the Earth!!!
    From what I have read 50D should be good, it only has quite bad high ISO characteristics. I would consider the new 7D if you only intend to shoot wildlife in action. For still birds and animals and macro and landscape I would definitely go for 5DII. ISO of both machines is comparable, print output is also similar (5D has more MPix but also larger chip, do not know the exact numbers - look for some detailed reviews). 5DII output is amazing but stil more and more wildlife photographers vote for 7D and some even compare it to the quality of 1D line-up. Hard to say here but I would make the purchase according to what you want to photograph. Ask for more if you need additional info.
    Cheers Jirka

  • Mecan

    Zdarec Jirko,

    pěkná série, celá Florida...to jsem zvědav, co se nám povede spáchat příští týden... hlavně, aby nám přálo počasí !

  • Jirka Slama

    Cau Martine, no uvidime, predpoved neni uplne krasna ale snad nebude prset, alespon uvidime, jake jsou tam moznosti.

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