Saturday Snapshot Feb. 9: Flying

I only started birdwatching in September last year. In these short few months I’ve come to discover the three levels of joy in birding.

First is the pleasure of sighting a species I’ve never seen before. Then it’s taking photos of birds perching or staying still. The most gratifying is to capture them in flight and when I come home and upload the photos onto my laptop, find them relatively in focus.

This past week, I’d the pure joy of finding the Red-Shafted Northern Flicker again, and photographing its take-off and landing.

Here is a series of shots:




No words needed.


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted. Again, thanks Alyce for motivating me to get out of the house, walk and shoot, even in minus temperatures.



FEB. 12: A Valentine’s Meditation

FEB. 15: Bonhoeffer Read-Along First Post, Chapters 1-18
(Look forward to reading your thoughts so far)

Bonhoeffer Pastor Martyr Prophet Spy-Eric Metaxas


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

45 thoughts on “Saturday Snapshot Feb. 9: Flying”

  1. Wonderful photos, I love to watch birds too, haven’t been a good enough photographer to capture them as well though. Are you participating in the Global Backyard Bird Count (Leslie @ Under the Appletree) posted about.


    1. Leslie,

      Oh I must tell you this… I saw a yellow shafted flicker with this one together! Maybe that was a hybrid, for I’ve read that there are lots of hybrid flickers. But it was certainly odd and most interesting.


      1. Interesting indeed! From the range map it looks like you are in or near the hybrid zone, so you’ll see both types or a combination of the two colors in one bird. Now that would make a fantastic photo.


    1. Ginny,

      That’s exactly what I thought, just like a ski jumper! I was going to write that as a caption, but decided not to interrupt the series of shots with my words. Thanks for stopping by.


    1. lameadventures,

      Thanks for that compliment! You know what I think… the Flicker looks like a clown in the circus, or a jester. That red dot on the cheeks is so comical.


  2. Oh my goodnes, what an extraordinary bird! I’ve never seen anything like it. How wonderful to have that bird nearby. And you took some absolutely great shots.


    1. Louise,

      The Northern Flicker is a common Woodpecker here. In the west they’re red-shafted, east are yellow-shafted. But there are hybrids. I saw at the time and it’s the most colourful bird for it has both orange and yellow.


    1. nikkipolani,

      Yes, I must say, it’s more by chance, albeit I stood by that tree and waited a while. The spots on their cheeks make them look like clowns I always think… real comical.


  3. These pictures are very good – the first with the bird in flight is spectacular. You have a good camera! I have several but cannot get close-ups of birds – it’s either my camera or me.
    Is there a Chinatown in your area? I used to love to visit Chinatown in San Francisco when I lived there, especially during the Chinese New Year. My two eldest grandsons are learning Chinese. Last week the eldest (6 years old) sang Happy Birthday to You to my husband in Chinese – Mandarin – and he can read it too. I only know how to say “Xièxiè” – but also Gong xi Fa Cai! 恭禧發財


    1. Vagabonde,

      I use a telelens for these birds. Not only that, I’d to crop to get them so close. But a telelens definitely is what you need for birds, and a good DSLR.

      Yes, we have a Chinatown, and a very nice Chinese Cultural Centre, and lots of Chinese restaurants, not only in Chinatown, but all over the City. Way to go for your grandsons to learn another language. At so young an age, they can easily pick up any. Good for them to choose Mandarin, the official dialect in China and Taiwan. Pǔtōnghuà, the ‘Common Language’. That probably is the most spoken language in the world after English, the lingua franca. I only speak Cantonese and know a little Mandarin. The greeting you mentioned: Gong Xi Fa Cai! 恭禧發財 literally means “Wishing you’ll make lots of money.”

      So, to you and yours, for a less Capitalistic greeting, I like to wish you all “Xin Nian Kuai Le” 新年快樂! (Literal meaning: New Year Happy)


  4. I like the third photo best. What shutter speed did you use? It had to have been very fast. Were you using the zoom with your camera, or a separate telephoto lens? (All these questions! I’m trying to encourage myself to stop with the automatic setting on mine and branch out a little.)

    Speaking of branches, there are buds on yours. They’re not ready to pop, but there they are. While you’re waiting, if it’s just too cold to go outdoors, you always can watch this live video stream of a nesting hummingbird. This will be her second brood. There’s one egg in the nest already, and they say another will come along in a day or so.


    1. Linda,

      My camera is the Nikon D5100, telelens 55-200mm. I find this is the least in order to capture birds high up in the tree, let alone flying. I’d like to have a 300mm so I can draw them nearer (but not the 400mm which begins to look really cumbersome). I usually have to do cropping on my computer. But I never change the colour of the birds, the saturation or definition… want to leave them as ‘real’ and ‘natural’ as can be.

      I find the auto setting in the Sports Mode the best for me, for this camera anyway, with its continuous shoots and lets the camera adjust automatically. All the three photos here were taken at the shutter speed of 1/2000, F8, and ISO around 350. They are three continuous shots. Thanks for the link to that video. But for some reasons I can’t view it since it’s blacked out. I could try watching it on YouTube.


  5. Arti, I’m overcome by these. Your camera is amazing and to get them flying is so difficult. But this bird is especially gorgeous — what an array of perfect colors. It’s really hard to imagine them any better. I have never seen a bird so beautiful. I am incredibly impressed.


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