Wednesday, 23 January 2013

My friend flicker?

Anyone else remember the 1950's television series "My friend Flicka"? It's about a horse named Flicka (Swedish for little girl) and the boy that was devoted to her, Johnny, on a fictional ranch in Wyoming. For some reason seeing a flicker reminds me of the show.

The other day I heard what I thought was the music from "Friendly Giant", now there is another blast from the past. I was transported back to after school TV so many years ago, and it was strangely comforting.

Why these flashes (don't get me started on that topic) back to the past, maybe my short term memory is failing, who knows. I can remember my phone number from when I was 6 years old, but on the other hand I can't figure out how to use my android phone properly ...... yet another story.

But today I wanted to talk about flickers and a beautiful pair that has been visiting my back yard feeders recently.

Red shafted or Northern Flickers, him above with his red cheek patches, showing off the red feathers in his wings and tail. Her, below, with grey brown cheeks; she has red feathers in wings and tail but not quite as bright. Both have beautiful spotted chests and a black crescent shaped black "cravat".

They are woodpeckers, and can be seen feeding on the ground, hammering on trees and at feeders. They make a high pitched kee kee kee sound (that's what it sounds like to me anyway) when approaching an area to feed, this to me sounds like "get out, get out, it's my turn" and seems to continue until the feeder is vacant.

Using her tail to "balance" on the feeder below:

Showing off the orange under feathers on her tail:

Here he is investigating some insect life on the power pole in the back lane. You don't want to see them on your house because it probably means you have an insect infestation.

She prefers the nuts ...........

........ and he the suet block ......

Flickers (other woodpeckers too) drill into trees and pieces of wood in search of food, but they also pound on other surfaces too, metal for instance, and can make a huge racket. It turns out that is exactly the point, to attract attention, handy when trying to attract a mate or scare away a rival, but not popular if it awakens one very early in the morning.

Another favorite show from that era was "Lassie". Do you have favorites from that time?

I have been busy in the studio this week, but am still finishing off a painting which I hope to reveal next week.

Since I seem to be living in the past a bit this week I thought I would show you something from the past, I apologize ahead of time if you have seen this before:

"Oh-fish-al Greeter"

This is a colour conte work from a series of door knockers that I did 2 or 3 years ago.

There is more information on the picture, on door knockers and on the conte medium on my art blog:


Thanks for stopping by, happy Whimsy Wednesday, until next week ..................


  1. Fantastic photos! They're beautiful birds! How cool you were able to get these shots!

  2. These are superb birds and beautifully photographed.

  3. What a lovely pair of Northern Flickers, you got it, beautiful images Gillian.

  4. i love the flicker, i see them once each year. i have never noticed the orange stripes that are so prominate on yours.

    great close ups, lots of details!

  5. Wonderful shots of the northern flicker. I remember that TV show from my childhood.

  6. we will occasionally get the yellow-shafted here, but i've been fortunate to see a red-shafted once, too. so beautiful! their 'dots' seem to float on their chest. :)

    loved the 'o-fish-al' greeter! i love that oriental fish!

  7. You have some great photos of those Flickers....

    We have a whole family that lives here, and they are second in line to the Pilliated woodpeckers...

    But because they are so flighty, and the feeders are under the trees I can't get a good shot of them. It's pretty nice to see the details in your photos, I love that flash of red.


  8. Hi Gillian, I remember both "My Friend Flicka" and "Friendly Giant" and our first phone number came to me immediately after reading about yours, so i guess we both have excellent long-term memory. I'm working on short term :) Loved your photos and especially appreciated the detail differences between males and females.

  9. Ah-hah! That is one bird that I recognize from a trip I made to Seattle a few years ago but I do not remember seeing the beautiful details that your photos show. Great photo captures!

  10. Lots of great photos here today. I really enjoyed them..


  11. Oh wow! I would be so excited to have a Northern Flicker at my feeders! They are such pretty birds.

    Confession here: I remember my first phone number too. And the names of all my teachers from kindergarden through grade 6. What's with that? I didn't watch a lot of TV when I was a kid but I do remember Lassie. :)

  12. It’s perfectly lovely to be able to welcome these beautiful birds to your feeders.

  13. What lovely bird shots. And I really like that door knocker.

    Flicka is still a well-known horse in films over here in Sweden.


  14. Great shots Gillian!

    We mostly seem to get the female at our feeder?

  15. Lovely to see the flicker at your bird feeder. The male has such wonderful colour ~ although I have seen one at my feeders, I have missed taking a photo, so really enjoyed yours. A Varied Thrush has nearly taken up residence at mine!