Hi and welcome to my Blog, my name is Paul Riddle and I live in south Leicestershire, UK. Back in August 2007 my quest began to locate as many local Little Owl territories as possible. The driving force was a reported decline in the uk numbers so I thought I would do my bit and conduct a study in my area. After 7 years and countless hours out in the field I have detected over 200 different sites. With a thirst for a greater understanding of the owls a more comprehensive monitoring and nest box programme then commenced. This also now includes monitoring the local and very sparse population of Barn Owls, please pop back occasionally and catch up with the life and times of my owls and any other wildlife that I come across. I hope you enjoy your visit!!!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Nosy Neighbors........

Whilst out checking owl nest boxes at the weekend one of my landowner friends told me he'd seen a woodpecker flying away from a newly excavated hold along one of his tracks. I needed no further encouragement and went off to investigate.....

The said tree and then the hole were soon located, it was a bit awkward getting the car into the right position as the track was very narrow, but after a bit of back and forth shunting I was ready. As is the norm with most woodpecker holes it was quite high, this meant pointing the camera up a quite an angle, this made it most uncomfortable as I sat there straining my neck.

As I waited for a bird to show matters were made worse when it started to drizzle, this obviously lowered the light levels which in turn made getting a usable shutter speed even more demanding than just coping with the heavy shade from the tree canopy. I could cope with the additional challenge of the low light but then it started to rain heavier and due to the angle of the camera the lens started to get splattered with water droplets. I persevered and after the camera had been brought back into the car for its sixth or seventh wipe down a woodpecker showed.

I was surprised it was a Great Spotted Woodpecker as all along I was expecting a Green Woodpecker? Anyhow, it was a nice male bird (red on the back of the head) it shuffled slowly upwards around the tree trunk, most of those images were too blurred to use as all I could muster at ISO 1000 was 1/50th of a second shutter speed. However, when it reached the hole it did hold its pose long enough for me to attain this first image.      

Great Spotted Woodpecker - Male
The Great Spotted didn't hang around long and was soon on its way, this gave me another opportunity to withdraw the camera once more for yet another quick dry off.

The next half an hour or so was very quiet, then the rain ceased slightly which coincided with another woodpecker visit. But this is when I got totally confused as this time it was a Green Woodpecker that visited the cavity?? 

I rattled off a few shots and made the most of the slightly improved light levels (now at 1/200 second). This woodpecker, a female (lack of a red mustachial stripe) posed lovely at the hole entrance for me, I was reveling in this viewing, by far the best ever I'd had of this species.

Green Woodpecker - female

The brilliant views of her then came to an abrupt end as she flew off, initially I couldn't understand why she'd left but then I noticed the male Great Spotted Woodpecker had returned, he was this time a little closer and in much better light which lent for much better photography conditions.



Then the fun and even more confusion (on my behalf) set in, the Green Woodpecker again returned which in turn shooed off the Great Spotted. This time she held her pose for a good while and I was allowed (by her) to spend a bit more time trying to get a better exposure. 


Then whilst I was watching and photographing her another movement caught my eye up near the hole, no it wasn't the Great Spotted that had returned yet again but the male Green Woodpecker (red mustachial stripe) that had stuck his head out of the hole!


So after all that confusion it appears that the cavity did after all belong to the Green Woodpeckers and the Great Spotted was just being nosy, or maybe just a good neighbor?

Thanks for stopping by, catch up again I hope?

18 comments:

  1. A great blog Paul and awesome pictures to go with it, i am one of theses woodpeckers colours with envy of you....

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    1. I'm sure you will get a chance with one of these peckers soon mate?

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  2. Amazing Paul! Thanks, great to see.
    Tim

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  3. Great shots of both species. I'm wondering if the Great Spotted is after the Green's eggs? Though it would be bizarre if you get Great Spotted juveniles fledging lol

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    1. Yes I came to the same conclusion Doug, I'll be making a return visit soon, maybe then all will be revealed?

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  4. I always find it very frustrating that I hear Green Woodpecker all over the place, Paul,but never seem to find one that I can get decent images of. Conversely,GS Woodys (which I rarely hear) are never too much of a problem if you can find the right side with feeders. You've done amazingly well with this site, with some superb images (the last one is a classic) and I look forward to hearing the outcome!

    Best wishes - - - Richard

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    1. Richard I have had the same relationship with Green Woodpeckers as you have, hear but hardly ever see! That is why I was very pleased to have finally nail some images of one. Thanks for your comments....

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  5. Hi Paul, As Richard says so frustrating with the Green Woodpecker, we have them in the trees at the back of us but have only once managed an image and that of a slow moving juvenile. Fabulous images of both birds. Regards John

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    1. I know where you are coming from John, thanks for your comment!

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  6. Absolutely magical shots Paul especially the Green Woodpecker images they are so skittish and very difficult to get close enough to for any decent images. Watch out for them GSW as beautiful as they are they're notorious predators of other birds nests although you would think that a green woodpecker would be a bit large for them to tackle.

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    1. I'll be keeping a watchful eye on the site Dawson, thanks for the info!

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  7. Superb images as usual mate, GSW is my favourite.....

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  8. Precious images. Thanks for comment. Greetings.

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