Friday, February 4, 2011

Downy Daybreak

When the alarm went off at a quarter of six this morning the weather report said 18 positive degrees were the temp, and that the roads were slick causing traffic delays. That was all it took, I was up in a with a bound and close to the office before seven. I decided to spend the hour before work walking some of the wooded areas along the creek at Coal Creek Golf Course.

I had a good walk of over a mile, with a Red-tail flying between perches ahead of me, and a handful of species that became vocal as the day began. As is sometimes the case though, my most memorable part of the morning came just as I was returning to the parking lot. This Downy Woodpecker was very busy in some of the plantings around the clubhouse. In a well timed meeting of light and subject I had the chance to shoot lots of frames of this bird from very close range.

The proximity allowed some different views of the bird....

I'm not sure what struck me most on this view; the eyelids dropping over the eyes after each blow, the scraps of debris in mid flight, the claws just wrapped around the branch for leverage, or the feathers around the bill that seem to be shaped like a snowplow blade?

I am sure that getting this shot with the Downy's tongue in view was a fun capture.

Just another day where a common bird makes for an uncommon start to the day. I was glad to have been there to appreciate the sight, even more so since the clear skies of the early morning have been replaced by clouds and passing snow showers.

Red-tail Hawk, off to the next perch.


  1. Those are some really nice, bright and detailed pics, Dave. I can't say I've ever seen a Downy's tongue before!

  2. Thanks Del, had been a while since I checked your blog. Bookended nicely, as one my first visits was just after you had discovered the ominous trailhead warning signs. Glad to read that you have been able to explore the area.

  3. I love Downy Woodpeckers. They are always a delight.

  4. Those are very nice shots of the Downey! You took a good advantage of the chance!