Country Corner


We were having one of our nature blethers on the track outside his cottage, my friend Andy and I.

Meanwhile, a great variety of birds were busy around his garden feeders.

Both of us clocked the woodpecker simultaneously, half hidden in a winter bare shrub away in a corner.

This female Great Spotted Woodpecker is a familiar friend of Andy and his wife.

Knowing its routine Andy said: “It’ll go to the peanuts” as I grabbed my camera.

Seconds later the bird was on the peanut feeder and posing beautifully.

To be honest it wasn’t that simple, as every time she pecked at the nuts her head was hidden from the camera.

When she did pull her back into view between pecks, it was only for a split second and, before I could press the shutter, her head was gone again. It became a case of taking pictures just as I expected her head to appear, hoping as I pressed, she would favour me.

As you can see I was lucky a few times and have selected the best of the bunch to show you this gorgeous species.

Great Spotted Woodpeckers are a species bucking the trend by becoming ever more common over recent years.

Bird feeding becoming a national hobby has helped greatly. So has the conservation practise of not clearing away dead trees in the name of tidiness. It is also suggested the decline of starlings has reduced competition for nest holes. Whatever the reasons, it is great to see this colourful character doing so well.

Watch for Great Spotted Woodpecker at a peanut feeder near you now.