27 Mar 2009

At least one Woodpecker undeniably exists.

Unlike America where photographic forgery, claim , counter claim and character assination have all been attributed to the search for the extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker at least there is photographic evidence that an equally elusive bird is well and thriving in that remote urban woodland that is Stanney Woods.

At long last I managed a few record shots of the male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker this morning. Picking it up drumming I finally located it within 200 m of the car park. Although drumming it wasn't calling much but showed well for about 30 minutes.

Migrants are thin on the ground with only a single Chiffchaff and Blackcap showing. Elsewhere a flock of 30+ Linnets feeding on the stubble was a good local record where in the past only the occasional flyover birds have been recorded. Good news is that the Tree Sparrows are back in the same area after being missing most of the winter. 5-6 birds were amongst the resident House Sparrow flock. Spring is slowly arriving and even the local Carrion Crows are beginning to collect sheeps wool to line their nests.

A pair of Bullfinches have been shy and secretive visitors to the garden and spend a lot of time feeding on spilt nijer see thrown around by the Goldfinches. The male banged into the conservatory window yesteday but flew off seemingly unharmed. Knowing how easily Bullfinches haemorrhage I was pleased to see them both back this morning and contorted myself out the bathroom window to get a couple of photo's.

Stu Taylor of the RSPB is leaving the Dee Estuary and moving back to take up a post in Wales. Good luck Stu & we'll no doubt catch up sometime in the future!

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