Flickers are woodpeckers that wannabe robins

Although they have the classic woodpecker beaks and stiff tails, they run around lawns and hunt grubs and worms. To me they always look awkward on the ground and can’t run as well as a robin

Robin-the-Flicker
Robin-the-Flicker

In the next picture you can see its stiff woodpecker tail and claws that can still hang vertically on trees.

Flicker 2
Flicker 2

Here, by comparison, is a more conventional woodpecker, although not one I have seen around here ever before.  It is a red-bellied woodpecker which is an odd name for a woodpecker that does not have a red belly.  We are at the extreme northern edge of its range but after this year’s extremely prolonged cold, it might be regretting moving up here.

Red-bellied woodpecker
Red-bellied woodpecker

Turkey display, ‘coon not impressed

Here is a short video clip, though he only did his full display once he got behind the deck, visible only through screen door which didn’t work on video.

Here are a couple of stills, and an under-impressed raccoon.

Raccoon drinking from almost frozen pond
Raccoon drinking from almost frozen pond
Turkey pole dancing
Turkey pole dancing
Turkey showoff
Turkey showoff

In this last one you can see a juvenile male. He knows better than to display.

Turkeys
Turkeys

Pileated Woodpecker

This woodpecker came to find some food in the slowly softening soil in our garden. It normally lives just across the river, a couple of hundred meters from the house and makes square holes in trees. But we were happy to see it “in person” as well as hearing the very loud drilling (much faster than the hairy and downy woodpeckers we see at the feeder).

The blurred streaks are out-of-focus plant stems between me and bird.

Pileated woodpecker 1
Pileated woodpecker 1
Pileated woodpecker 2
Pileated woodpecker 2
Pileated woodpecker 3
Pileated woodpecker 3

Easter Cactus – magnifications

Our Schlumbergera doesn’t know if it is a Christmas cactus or an Easter cactus, it has been blooming on and off since mid-December.

I decided to play with my new macro-photography toy, a rail that lets me focus more accurately than just the ring on the lens.  I have a lot to learn, but here are my first attempts.

Starting with the whole of one flower:

Easter Cactus flower
Easter Cactus flower

Then zooming in on the naughty bits.

Easter Cactus flower zoom 2
Easter Cactus flower zoom 2

This is the male part that generates the pollen, known as the stamens.

Easter Cactus flower zoom 3 stamens
Easter Cactus flower zoom 3 stamens

The whole female part is called the pistil, made up of

  • the ovary which will grow the seeds and is hidden inside the flower,
  • a stalk, called the style. You can see pollen grains stuck to it
  • the stigma on the end
Easter Cactus flower zoom 3 style
Easter Cactus flower zoom 3 style

But if they’re hoping to fertilize the seeds, they need to land on the stigma

Easter Cactus flower zoom 3 stigma
Easter Cactus flower zoom 3 stigma