Last year, for a month or so, we had a juvenile female Great Spotted Woodpecker visiting our garden on a 'several times a day' basis. We don't see woodpeckers very often in our garden, so this was quite exciting for us. Suddenly she was gone, and we feared the worst.
I can now say, with absolute confidence, that she is back! This is based on behaviour and preferred food. Unlike most GS Woodpeckers, which have a preference for peanuts, this bird (as good as exclusively) likes to feed from the fat balls - only once have we seen her briefly try the offerings of the sunflower heart tray. Also, her approach to the fat balls is virtually always the same. She lands on a particular section of our back fence, surveys the scene, flies to the base of a silver birch branch (dead, and inserted as a photographic prop near the feeder pole), climbs the birch until level with the fat ball holder, and then hops across. After feeding she flies directly up into the nut tree, cleans her bill, and then flies off southwards.
A week or so ago, she was visiting even more frequently - one day she came five times before mid-day(!) - and we came to the conclusion that she was probably feeding young. In the warmer dry weather she started deviating from her usual behaviour, and coming to our bird bath and 'mini-pond' for a drink. This gave me a few slightly different opportunities for photography, although I was having to shoot through the double glazing of my study or the conservatory. Note the long probing tongue in the first image.
|Great Spotted Woodpecker (female) - our garden|
I'm not sure how long she will continue to visit us for - her visits have thinned out a bit in the last three days - but we're hoping, if she does have youngsters, that she will bring them to visit us too!
Whilst on the subject of the garden, on Friday we lifted the garden annual total of species visiting to 35 - not with anything as spectacular as April's Redstart, but with a Carrion Crow. It was about time, as we see a Crow round our garden virtually every day, but this was the first day this year that we've actually seen it put a foot down in the garden (the criterion that we use for counting a garden bird). We're not halfway through the year yet, but we've already beaten our previous annual record (last year's) by three species!
|Carrion Crow - our garden (bringing the garden year-list up to 35 species)|