I've had some health issues lately and my blogs have suffered, but my obsession with nature is thriving, as usual! It's amazing what you can see lying on lawn chairs in your own back yard. For one thing, I've noticed we have a huge flock of Canadian Geese in our neighborhood this year, the largest I've ever seen. Each night at sunset they fly back and forth over and sometimes around our house, sometimes so long I can feel the rush of air from their wings.
This can be somewhat intimidating. I have always loved Canadian Geese, but they are large animals, wild animals, and can be aggressive and dangerous animals. For instance, for some reason they do not like bicycles and often attack bicyclists. I have a friend who has a pin in his collar bone from a serious injury incurred from an attack by three Canadian Geese. He is a competitive bicyclist and riding a bike trail when he saw the geese. They were not close, and he was caught completely off guard when they flew at him and knocked him from his bicycle.
Nevertheless, I do love watching them and photographing them, especially at sunset when the famous New Mexico colorful sunsets change the color of their feathers and make them shimmer like gold. I love the way I can hear them coming long before I see them. They are beautiful birds.
I'd noticed a spotted bird a few times while walking my dogs and thought it was a type of hawk. I discovered it was a hawk, and a spotted bird! I finally downloaded my photographs and discovered I was photographing two different types of birds.The first one I believe is a Ferruginous Hawk, But realized it was not, and it was a bird I'd never seen before. I posted the photo on Facebook and one of my friends immediately identified the bird as a Northern Flicker. My first!
Well, guess what? They ARE a type of woodpecker! So, this is the third time I have lived in this area of New Mexico in my lifetime, and I've been in this house two years. Why is this the first time I've seen a Northern Flicker? Where we live there is a county ordinance against lawns. The Northern Flicker is generally seen on the ground because its favorite foods are ants and beetles.
Northern Flickers dig them out with their curved beaks, which resemble the beak on Mr. and Mrs. Thrasher, my friends who live in the shrub that grows over the brick wall on the side of my house. Unlike my Thrasher friends, the Northern Flicker is one of few woodpeckers who always migrates--another reason I may not have noticed this bird before in our area.
I may be having trouble identifying the other spotted bird, but I believe it is a juvenile Ferruginous Hawk. I am basing my identification on the beak and the tail, but if you suspect I have misidentified the bird, please let me know!