These are photos of a male (top) and female (lower) Red-shafted Northern Flicker. They are a medium-sized member of the woodpecker family and are known as one of the few woodpecker species that migrate. They reside in western North America. (There is also a Yellow-shafted variety that resides in eastern North America.)
Their outer coloring is mostly neutral with handsome black-scalloped plumage along their back, a bold black chest crescent, and white/buff with black spotting along their front feathers. The males have a red moustache. Both sexes are red under their tail and wings, and are stunning when they take off with their vibrant flashes and flickers of red! They eat mainly ants and beetles, and spend lots of time on the ground.
Their colors are indicative of autumn for me. Here, they frequent our suet feeders in the winter, and are gone by spring.
>>:::<< carpet of snowflakes
informs me of charming visitors
birdie autographs >>:::<<
This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge encourages us to change our perspective on something and to share a photo of a subject shot directly from above. I think it would be difficult to see more definition in the bird tracks at any other angle than from directly above them.
>>:::<< a splash of sky
rising out of the water
majestic heron >>:::<<
A Great Blue Heron on a quest for dinner!
This photo was taken just over a week ago at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah, USA. The Great Blue Heron is the largest of the herons in North America and is found throughout most of the continent. They have been described as “graceful flyers with slow, steady, dignified wingbeats.” They feed primarily on fish, insects, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and usually nest in trees or brushes near water’s edge. They rarely venture away from bodies of water. In Utah, they are a common breeding resident in the summer and nest in scattered colonies. A few remain throughout the winter in areas of open water.
Note: The website for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states that the Bear River Bird Refuge is an oasis for water birds and “acclaimed as one of the world’s 10 best birding areas.” It provides habitat for more than 200 bird species. It is definitely one of my favorite places to visit.
This photo is for the Wild Weekly Photo Challenge where we are encouraged to turn
our lens toward some feathery friends. No one has to twist my arm to do that!
This is also for the “Tagged” letter challenge (letter “Q”) by Frizztext, (“Q” is for Quest.)
The photo above was taken near Dinosaur National Monument in northeastern Utah. These are petroglyphs dating from AD 100 to 1200, and were made by people from the Native American Fremont culture. Some of the figures reach 9 feet tall and are located along a 200-foot high sandstone cliff. Many rock art sites such as petroglyphs exist across Utah, and as with most rock art, they are a record of the presence of the people who lived there at the time. (Fremont people were here until about AD 1300. A suggestion as to why their traditions and culture disappeared here is climate change and worsening farming conditions, which did not allow Fremont people to easily adapt to for sustenance.)
Of interest to most general readers of petroglyphs is “What does it mean?” Although archaeologists have arrived at certain general interpretations, “interpreting rock art designs is intriguing yet difficult, often impossible.”
How would you interpret these petroglyphs?
Now to the opposite end of the state for the next photo. Tucked away into a ledge above a dry wash in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park (southeastern Utah) is a structure from the Native American Pueblo culture. This structure, located in the left side of the photo, is an Ancestral Puebloan granary (grain storage bin). Built between AD 1270 and 1295, this type of granary was used to store corn, bean or squash seeds. There are dozens of similar storage structures in this area, but few dwellings. According to the park information, this suggests that the early inhabitants of this area farmed intensively but lived there only seasonally.
“For many years, changing weather patterns made growing crops more and more difficult. Around AD 1300, the ancestral Puebloans left the area and migrated south. Their descendants include the people living in modern pueblos in New Mexico and Arizona like Acoma, Zuni, and the Hopi Mesas.” (Source: National Park Service – Canyonlands)