Uh Ah a Ah Uh...

     Knock Knock…Who’s there?..Woody…Woody who? Woody Woodpecker..Uh Ah a Uh Ah..Uh Ah a Ah Uh…With that boisterous call, this famous woodpecker, created in 1940, was launched onto the world's TV stage by none other than the late Walter Lantz.  He still remains one of my favorite cartoon characters. Who cannot love Woody? When the Editor and I built our home we sat on our front patio and watched two large Pileated Woodpeckers land and scurry round and round one of the large hickory trees in the front yard. We then just had to get a Piliated Woodpecker print framed from our favorite bird artist, Art LaMay of Palm Coast Florida. And so a special appreciation has developed in our home for this boisterous bird from that day forth. We saw the same pair again on our first Christmas morning.

     When my friend Jack Rogers told me about a Piliated Woodpecker nest with babies not too far from here I just had to go photograph them.  Per the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology “The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood.” No wonder they liked our property..we have lots of carpenter ants around here.

     “Pileated Woodpeckers are mostly black with white stripes on the face and neck and a flaming-red crest. Males have a red stripe on the cheek. In flight, the bird reveals extensive white underwings and small white crescents on the upper side, at the bases of the primaries. Pileated Woodpeckers drill distinctive rectangular-shaped holes in rotten wood to get at carpenter ants and other insects. They are loud birds with whinnying calls. They also drum on dead trees in a deep, slow, rolling pattern, and even the heavy chopping sound of foraging carries well. Their flight undulates like other woodpeckers, which helps separate them from a crow’s straight flight path. “ If you are on facebook see this video of a Pileated excavating a large tree trunk. https://www.facebook.com/haberinbizdencom/videos/549979268493136/

      I visited the nest twice, about a week apart. On the first visit I saw two small pair of beaks peek out for a little when the parents came to feed. This past weekend, however, they were poking their lil red heads way out and calling for Mom and Dad. As of this reading I am told both lil pecker heads have fledged and left the nest.  Click on photos below for full screen views. Hope you are blessed outta your socks..Harry

Guess who…me..Woody Woodpecker! Source: Bing photo gallery

Male Pileated Woodpecker (note red stripe under the beak) at the nest. 

The male enters the nest, then pokes his head out after a few minutes..checks to see af it is all clear..

Better check out those dang photographers over there...

Hey you! Mr Doohickey…can't a woodpecker have some privacy? Want me to peck a hole in your camera?

About 30 minutes later Mom arrives with more food..I see a lil peckerhead sticking up..no two of them are in there..

Mom then enters the nest to clean up some woodpecker pooh..then takes it away from the nest..she keeps a clean home..

Then she rockets off in search of more food for the lil pecker heads..

A week later I return to see two little Woodpeckers sticking out of the nest calling for Mom and Dad to bring more food..It later appears both are males. 

Be quiet..I hear Mom...

Woody Jr. grabs the first bite..and the second..and the third...

How come he got all the bugs? I'm telling Dad..

Dad…Woody Jr got all the bugs…I want some too!

No problem son…I will get you some more..

Thanks Dad…Love you! Uh Ah a Ah Uh..Uh Ah a Ah Uh..!  (best viewed full frame, click on photo)

And a Memorial Day Salute to all past, present and future Veterans. And may God Bless America!

The Lizard of Oz..

     If you are anywhere near my age you surely remember the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, and Toto too! I too had a journey somewhat similar to Dorothy’s. I went on a whirlwind trip to another world when I took my first Macro Photography workshop at the recent 2015 Florida’s Birding and Photo Fest. It is there I met the Lizard of Oz.

     A neighbor and fellow photographer named Jim introduced me to macro photography last year. I was intrigued with his photographs of spiders and insects. I decided then to add that to my area of interest. Macro Photography is defined in some sources as “extreme close up photography, usually of very small subjects, in which the size of the subject in the photograph is greater than life size”. Macro Photography is a “whole other world” from Bird Photography. The lenses that are used are different (magnification ratios of about 1:1 to 1:4), as are the camera settings, use of lighting, and techniques.

     Mr. Mike Matthews, the instructor, provided an outstanding workshop on the basics of macro photography. He then provided a macro studio set up of several species of lizards, frogs, and yes indeed, snakes. We took turns photographing the “models” in various backgrounds and settings while his assistant valiantly recaptured and repositioned the sometimes not so cooperative subjects for our best photographic experience. I truly felt like I was in another world with these beautiful creatures.

      I hope you enjoy this journey to the world of macrophotography with me. The nice thing about this workshop was there were no witches to worry about. I had a few equipment gremlins to contend with but we took care of them too. I can’t wait to go on a new planned adventure next year to see the wonderful Lizard of Oz..I wonder if the Editor will spring for a new macro lens maybe? Be Blessed. Harry

Hi, I am the Lizard of Oz. Jacksons Chameleon male, East Africa

You have to be real careful on these branches..that is why I grip them tight..

Meet the little lady lizard of Oz..Jacksons Chameleon female.

Green Tree Python

Rainbow boa..look at my new teeth coming in!

Cobalt Dart Frog…yep, the kind they make poison darts with..

Bearded Dragon Profile

Blue Tongued Skink…help my tongue ith thtuck..

Hurry up and kiss me and I turn into a handsome Prince…really! Ornate Pacman Frog

Female Veiled Chamleon

I can look both ways…can you do that at the same time?

Leopard Gecko….my ancestor was a dinosaur you know..!

Gargoyle Gecko

Crested Gecko…well lick my lizard lips...

Red Eyed tree Frog

Go ahead Eve..eat the apple..you will love it…it won't kill you…really

My grandma..what big red eyes you have….

Roots and Wings...

     Did you remember your Mother yesterday? Even if she is not with you, there is no excuse for not thinking about her. I thought it would be appropriate to visit the rookery at the St Augustine Alligator Farm in celebration of  bird Mothers Day. This time of year the Great Egret chicks are about half grown and soon will fledge. The Roseate Spoonbills and Wood Storks eggs are also hatching.  Snowy Egrets and Tricolored Herons are sitting on eggs. A whole new generation is about to take wing.

     Roots and Wings is a recent hit on the country charts (the only kind of music by the way). Our parents and ancestors gave us roots. Some roots are deeper than others. I knew very little of my “roots” so when a nephew asked me where we came from I had some digging to do. I discovered my paternal ancestor to America was a German Hessian Soldier who came in 1776 and was captured and imprisoned at the battle of Saratoga. While in prison he was persuaded to “switch sides”, was given land for service, and remained in America. Sadly, he was not allowed contact with his roots in Germany after that. So he established some new ones here. He settled first in the Shenandoah Valley area. He then moved to near present day Greenbrier West Virginia, where he married and had eight children before settling finally in Madison County Ohio about 1815. His farm is still there today. On my maternal side I was able to trace my roots back to the Mayflower to Governor William Bradford. How far can you trace your roots?

     I have my roots established. Now I am waiting for my wings. Oh, I “left the nest” early and thanks to the Navy as my wings; saw a lot of this world. But someday soon I am going to mount up with “Wings as Eagles”. Then I will really be able to travel.  How bout you? Be blessed. Harry

They say I have my Mothers eyes..I think I got her heart too!

Dad was sure proud the day I was hatched..

I came from a long line of Great Egrets..this is my Fourth Great Grandbirdfather..

I am the middle bird…my younger brother bird didn't make it out of the nest though..

My bird bro and I waiting for breakfast..probably fish again…huh bro..beats worms though..

I have some loud mouthed cousins too!

They live where there is Snowy Egrets..too cold for my thin feathered blood..

I was raised on a farm with some Cattle Egrets…this is my step birdbrother..

This is me the day I left the nest….off to see the world..Anchors away!

These two are my Bird  In Laws…they really loved each other…I have a mixed marriage to a southern bird of another feather…her hair feathers are "funny" some folks say...

And she is alway redecorating..

Life has not alway been rosy…except if you are a Roseate Spoonbill of course..

I found that if you really look hard though..

Life can be rosy in spite of the world..if you just spread some genuine love around.

Some landings in life might be a bit tricky...

When you said "follow me" , I never knew the trip would be so far….

Someday though soon I will transform into a new bird and "mount up with Wings as Eagles", then watch me soar!

The Boogey Bird...

     Do you remember sitting around a campfire telling ghost stories?  Did you ever try to scare a younger sibling with stories about “the boogeyman”? Well, it seems these things happen in the bird world too. This week I met “the Boogey bird”! I am still having nightmares.

     The Great Egret begins its morning as usual. It finds a nice quit spot in the tidal marsh. Looks for a fish. Has a quiet morning snack. Then suddenly it happens! Some Boogey bird jumps out of the marsh and scares the bird poop outta the poor Egret! Encounters like this can leave one a bit shaken up. Poor George, the Yellow Crowned Night Heron apparently saw something too. He got so scared he flew up to the dock right beside me and lands about five feet to my left on the dock railing. He was so shook up he could barely fly let alone try to balance on the slippery rail.

     A Black Crowned Night Heron lands in the tidal marsh channel in front of me. The sun is just beginning to light up the marsh. The large red eyes and dark pupil of the night heron catch my eye. I pick up my camera and focus in on the eyes. The doohickey goes “Click”. The night heron ignores me (I thought) and begins to stalk the shallows. It steps into the morning sunlit channel. Suddenly the dark pupils begin to glow a fiery yellow hue!  I can’t believe my eyes. When using a flash you get this sort of effect. The trouble is I am not using a flash. The heron takes a few more steps in my direction and looks at me. The other eye begins to glow. Click. As it advances and moves into the shadow of the dock beneath my feet, the eye color returns to normal. The night heron looks up again then flies up the channel. Did I just see “the Boogey bird” too? Be Blessed. I think I gotta go change my skivvies though. 

Splish Splash..the Clapper Rail was taking a bath...

Ahhh ….nothing like a nice private morning bath.

Suddenly a Great Egret comes flying around the bend and does not see the Clapper Rail ….

Hello Mr Doohickey…nice morning huh!

You just wait there Mr. peeping Egret..I will get even with you..disturb my bath will you!

The next morning begins as usual, The Great Egret finds a nice quiet spot in the marsh to hunt for minnows.

When suddenly out jumps the clapper rail . The Great Egret says "It's the boogey bird!

Fly for your life!

I'm never coming back here to fish..too scary!

George is sitting minding his own business..then

Suddenly, George the Yellow Crowned Night Heron spots something too! 

AHHGG! The boogey bird!

George lands on the railing right beside me…He is still  visibly shaken!

George can barely keep his balance he is so shook up.

I think I saw the boogey bird!

My bird knees are shaking so bad I can barely stand up!

I am out of here too!

This Crow has a Redwinged Blackbird bogey on his tail feathers!

And Stay out of here!…Plucky lil red winged Blackbird grabs the crow by the tail!

Then I spot the Black Crowned Night Heron taking the Red Eye flight home after a night on the marsh

I need my wide angle lens for this one!

The  Black Crowned Night Heron lands in the marsh in front of me and looks at me with its huge red eyes!

 

Yes, I heard the stories about the Boogey Bird..surely you don't believe that stuff?

Hey Mr Doohickey, Look into my eyes and tell me you don't actually believe in the boogey bird..really now..heh heh...

Does the Boogey bird's eyes glow like this? 

Surely that is just another marsh myth…right? 

After seeing those red eyes glow even the boogey bird beats feathers outta here!  Me too!

email: selsorhd@me.com

All photographs and materials copyrighted and possession of Harry D Selsor. All rights reserved.

Photos are avail for purchase framed or unframed.