Three from the Backyard

13 06 2011
Three from sitting around on my balcony yesterday:

Comments welcome – Don’t be shy!

1. Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

2. Female Black Headed Grosbeak

Female Black Headed Grosbeak by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

3. Mr Downy Woodpecker

Mr Downy Woodpecker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

A couple of visitors on a dull day

13 03 2010

It’s always nice when you get visitors on a dull day.  I’ve been moping around home with cold for a couple of days now.   It’s nice when this guy and gal come to visit:

Mr Northern Flicker
Flicker Woodpecker Burnaby BC Canada Birds

Flicker Woodpecker Burnaby BC Canada Birds

Mrs Downy Woodpecker
Downy woodpecker birds burnaby bc canada

Both shot at ISO 1600 @400mm with my Canon 50D.

I just put the Hummingbird feeder out today… let’s see if they start coming by to pose 🙂

OOB Downy Woodpecker

12 02 2009

Using Serrator’s Excellent OOB tutorial, after the Jay previously, I hacked up Mrs Downy Woodpecker: 

Better than my first try…  This is sort of addictive 🙂

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An exciting morning at the feeder today

11 02 2009

Hmm… I just realized that things are getting a bit desperate if I’m writing about an “exciting morning at the feeder”.  LOL!


I was about to head of to work this morning and looked out at the feeder as usual to see who was visiting.  Imagine my surprise to see both Mr. and Mrs. Downy woodpecker feeding from the feeder.  Also, there were these little grey birds (smaller than chickadee, with longer tails) that were mobbing my suet feeder.  I didn’t know what they were…

“I’ve got to get a quick shot before I head off to work”, I thought to myself. 

I zipped upstairs and grabbed the camera, snapped on the 100-400 and zipped back down.  My Downies had gone and so had the little grey birds.. all that was left was a finch, and he bolted once he saw me at the door. :( 

I went out to the balcony to see if the woodpeckers had stopped in the fir (that would be a good shot too!).  No luck.  As I was standing there, about 4 feet from the feeder, I heard the distinct sound of claws landing and grabbing metal.  I knew a bird had landed very close by. I looked around the feeder and as I circled, I found this little Downy.  I couldn’t believe my luck!  I picked up the camera to shoot and then realized that the lens won’t focus at 4 feet – you need 6.. Arghh.. TOO close – what a great problem to have!  I backed out to where the lens would FINALLY give me confirmation of focus and started snapping away.  Drat – 1600ISO was still too dark.  2500 seemed to give me enough light to shoot.  She held so still.  I was able to walk around and try shooting from different angles.  She was a VERY patient model 😉

“Maybe I can get her to eat peanuts from my hand!”, was my next thought.

I ran in and grabbed a couple of peanuts and held them out to her.  I could reach my hand to within 6 inches her! She didn’t fly away.  Alas, she also didn’t want my peanuts.  I went back inside and decided to get the 70-200 because I was sure I could get some great pics at F2.8.  Upon my return, she had flown off, and all I could see around was a male Downy off in the maple nearby.  She obviously decided to move on to a more “professional” photographer.  Sigh – story of my life 😉

My chirping and “Downy Woodpecker calling” seemed to have attracted a Steller’s Jay.  They LOVE the peanuts!  They are pretty skittish though and don’t particularly like being shot.   I did manage to get a nice shot of him/her as it was on the fir tree eyeing me over to determine how much of a threat I was, and was the threat worth it to get the 2 peanuts on the balcony railing. 

Here’s the Steller’s Jay:

An interesting morning – I’d STILL like to figure out what the little grey jobbies were…  Oh well, that’ll be another day, I’m sure they’ll be back!


Mr Downy Woodpecker

16 12 2008

Shot with the Canon 50D 100-400mm @ 400mm mostly.  EXIF is available on the full size (click on the one you see here to get that)

Downy Woodpecker Burnaby BC

Downy Woodpecker Burnaby BC

Downy Woodpecker Burnaby BC

Downy Woodpecker Burnaby BC

Mr Downy Woodpecker

30 11 2008

It was wet and miserable today, but Mr and Mrs Downy Woodpecker came by at different times this morning. The lighting was abysmal… Had to shoot at 3200 just to get 1/250 Mr. Downy hung out in a reasonable location for some photos once he had visited the suet feeder:


3. This time with flash (ISO 400)

Hopefully he’ll visit again on a nicer day and I’ll be able to get a better shot of him and his wife. Thanks for visiting!



10 11 2008

Last week, as usual in Vancouver, it rained.  It rained a lot.  I had noticed that my visitor count to my bird feeder seemed low and that I wasn’t going through bird seed as quickly as I had been in weeks past.  Previously I had been going through a feeder’s worth in a day and a half.  Now it was taking almost a week.  I figured there had to be more to it than just the rain.

I put on my coat and looked around to see if I could see where the birds were.  They didn’t seem to be at my feeder or my nearby trees.  Then I saw “IT”.  It was slender and sleek, with a nice big catch tray on the bottom and large clear plastic cover to shelter from the rain.  The birds were flitting in and out, and all around.  THE COMPETITION!

Our neighbours had put up a feeder as well.  In the rainy weather the local avian population definitely seemed to prefer the sheltered dining environment.  What to do?  I though about putting out little bird sized chaise lounges.  Perhaps a bird-focused Starbucks.  I was at a loss.  I ran to Mrs D and said “We have to upgrade!”  We’re losing business.  Surprisingly – she laughed… Someone clearly didn’t understand the cutthroat nature of birdfeeding. 🙄

We headed out to the local Backyard Bird shop and sized up the covers.  “Too expensive” she said.  Sigh.  I did, however pick up some suet and some new seed to hopefully entice more and different birds over to our eatery again.  Once you lose customers it can be pretty tough to bring them back. 😉

With the suet in place, it wasn’t long before we had a male downy woodpecker come by… I was so excited that I probably scared the guy off with my dash to get my camera!  Oops.

This past weekend was different.  We had Mrs. Downy come to visit.  I stealthily grabbed the camera and got a few shots.

Here’s Mrs Downy… one of my first bird shots with the Canon 50D.  Shot at 400mm through the door glass at ISO1600.  I’m pretty happy with the result – all things considered.  I hope that they will become more comfortable with me being around and give me a chance to get some better shots.

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