Portraits From The Porch

by Larry Jordan on September 6, 2010

Acorn Woodpecker Juvenile Female photos by Larry Jordan

I haven’t been able to do much birding lately.  I’m in the process of switching over from a PC to a Mac (anyone with advice on doing this please chime in).  Since I have this lovely Labor Day weekend, completely free of my regular job duties, I thought I would just enjoy the birds in my own backyard.

I sat on my porch with my digiscoping setup and had fun watching the birds and other animals as they went about their daily routines.  These images were all taken with the setup mentioned above but with a fixed 30x eyepiece.  Click on photos for larger size images.

The Acorn Woodpeckers were very active, bringing their young to the woodpecker feeder.  The juvenile female (above) was at the waterfall getting a drink.  Note the sparse red on the crown.  Male and female juveniles of this species both have solid red crowns similar to the adult male before going through their prebasic molt in the fall.  They also begin life with blue eyes that slowly turn to the white or gold color of the adult.  You can see her eyes are very pale and the red is disappearing from her crown.

Here is a photo of an adult female Acorn Woodpecker.  The red crown is separated from the white forehead by a wide black band and her eyes are a light gold color.

Near the feeder was a juvenile male posing nicely in the morning sun with pale blue eyes and his red crown beginning at his white forehead and extending to the nape.

At one point he got excited at all the commotion around him and raised his crown momentarily

I think the Western Gray Squirrel running amok in the tree was the cause.

The Western Scrub-Jays and Mourning Doves were scavenging on the ground for fallen seeds, the scrub-jays filling up their beaks as usual

and the doves feeding in the shade of the oak trees

There were many animals and birds visiting the pond.  The squirrels, jackrabbits, and deer, California Quail and Anna’s Hummingbird.  Here are a few I photographed, starting with one of my favorite cavity nesting birds, the Oak Titmouse

and the ever present Lesser Goldfinch.

I hope you enjoyed the portraits from my porch.  All these birds are year round residents here and I am lucky to be able to watch them interact with one another throughout the seasons.

Here is one last look at the young female Acorn Woodpecker drinking from the waterfall, a taste of red, white and blue for Labor Day.

To see more bird photography from around the world, check out Bird Photography Weekly and join in the fun!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy @nativegardener September 6, 2010 at 11:26 am

You have quite the entertaining back yard! Love how the squirrel gets a rise out of the woodpecker.


sciencedude288 September 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Did they at least offer you a commission.


Idaho_Birder September 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm

A couple of those Acorn Woodpecker photos could be in a birding magazine. Really great work Larry!


Rose Puff September 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Beautiful pictures. I really enjoyed the view. Thank you for sharing!


Lana September 6, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Thanks for sharing your birds with us. I’m always interested in seeing western “equivalents” to our eastern birds (not to mention some of the similarities across the Atlantic, as well!)


Bradley September 7, 2010 at 6:47 pm

As someone with a new appreciation for birding, I am amazed at the incredible colors. The red on the Acorn Woodpecker is brilliant! Excellent photos.
I’m curious about the waterfall. Perhaps I’ll see it sometime.


The Zen Birdfeeder September 8, 2010 at 6:33 am

That Acorn Woodpecker is one amazing looking bird and one I hope to see some day. I like the image of him sipping water. Nice job.


Phil September 8, 2010 at 11:01 am

Very nice close-ups of the woodpeckers Larry. It is such an amazingly bright bird and I guess you are lucky seeing and being able to photograph them them from your porch.


Rookie September 8, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Beautiful pictures.


Slugyard September 11, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Love the photos. As far as the computer transition goes- welcome to the club! I switched about 5 years ago and haven’t looked back.


Ellen Sousa September 13, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Oooh some great shots here, you must have a great telephoto lens to capture all those comings and goings with such clarity…


dreamfalcon September 17, 2010 at 11:51 am

Great Woodpecker Photos! The full beak of the Blue Jay is cool, too. That digiscoping really works well.


Nicole September 19, 2010 at 12:06 am

What a sweet collection of Beauties on your porch.
I think I like the Squirrel bird best 😉


Bird Feeders September 24, 2010 at 10:00 am

Great photographs Larry! I really enjoyed the two photographs of the juvenile female Acorn Woodpecker. You can really see how her fall molt is bringing in the black band that separates the red crown from the white forehead. Are these birds from a resident group of Acorn Woodpeckers in your backyard? Have you noticed roost/nest cavities and/or granaries? I studied a population of Acorn Woodpeckers in Carmel Valley, California and have seen some very intense interactions as crows and squirrels attempted to pilfer acorns from their granaries. Once I saw a female successfully knock a squirrel out of her granary by diving right into it! They are truly fascinating birds and you’re lucky to have them in your backyard (although they aren’t the quietest of neighbors!). Waka waka!


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