Tag Archives: downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

February feathers

Before all hell broke loose at work and I lost the majority of my time to the demands of employment, I enjoyed a leisurely walk at White Rock Lake early on the morning of February 2.  While this by no means encompasses the totality of the photographs taken that day, it does present a nice avian menagerie representative of that glorious experience.  You can expect more later.

Ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis) preening and sunbathing on a pier (20080202_01679)

The most ubiquitous species of its kind here at the lake, ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis) enjoyed a casual sunrise on the pier in Sunset Bay, my favorite spot to sit and meditate in the company of this urban oasis and all the nature it has to offer.

I especially like the juvenile on the right caught with its leg outstretched while grooming (I believe that’s second-winter plumage).

Three female house sparrows (Passer domesticus) perched on one of the pier's support columns (20080202_01693)

Three female house sparrows (Passer domesticus) perched atop one of the pier’s supports as they undoubtedly gossiped and spoke of the ungrateful men in their lives.  You can almost hear the cackling and goings on, the talk of no shopping money left in the nest when “those men” disappeared all too early, the discussion about who really has to raise the young’uns while others gallivant around the countryside as if they haven’t a care in the world.

A male downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) hanging upside-down as he searches for a meal (20080202_01715)

A male downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) spent a great deal of time hunting the outer branches of this tree in search of food.  His female counterpart, also in the same tree, never left the dense shadows of its thick trunk.

Only later did I realize this is normal behavior, the male commandeering thinner branches while he forces the female to stay lower in the tree.  Apparently he knows where the better insects hide.

A female European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) high in a tree facing into the morning sun (20080202_01741)

A female European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) sat high in a tree facing the sun, making photography rather difficult lest I stand facing her.  Such is the result.

She made a great deal of noise as I approached her nest (hidden in a hollow limb).  When I didn’t pass by uncaring of her presence, she bellowed out a series of demands that I move along immediately.  Too bad she remained in the tree’s upper branches and in a position that forced me into a singular view of her (from in front and below).

A male pekin duck (Anas domesticus) swimming near the bank of a creek (20080202_01768)

A male pekin duck (a.k.a. domestic duck, white pekin duck, or Long Island duck; Anas domesticus) swam by me as I walked along the banks of Dixon Branch (one of the many creeks that feed into White Rock Lake).  He paused briefly to look at me, perhaps a question as to my intent or a quick pondering of my obvious inability to swim.

In either case, he made a rather nice portrait with his deep blue eyes and illustrious whiteness.

A close-up of a rock dove (Columba livia) looking at me as I pass by (20080202_01759)

A rock dove (a.k.a. common pigeon; Columba livia), one among many, paused momentarily as it glanced at me while I trundled along pretending I hadn’t noticed all of them feasting on breakfast.