Green Woodpecker Drills

April 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Pied Billed Grebe

In forty years of filming birds at the nest I have only ever found five Green Woodpecker’s nests and only then when they had large young ready to fledge. It would be too much of a risk to try to film them at any other time. On the 9th April in a high Pennine Oak wood I found a tree with just the starting of a Green Woodpecker’s hole. The big attraction was that the hole faced South for good illumination and fifteen feet away was a dry stone wall with a stone missing at just the right height for the camera. It was too good an opportunity to miss! The next day I sneaked along the blind side of the wall and carefully peered through the hole in the wall towards the tree. The male Green Woodpecker was resting by the hole so I had to wait for twenty minutes for him to fly away to feed. During this time I hid myself and the camera on the other side of the wall and waited. An hour later he returned and started to chip away at the hole giving me some unique film of how a Green Woodpecker drills a hole in a living Oak tree. It was a once in a life time experience.

The incredible Spring weather this weekend has produced the earliest fully leaved Hawthorne trees I have seen. On Hopwood on the tenth a Whitethroat was singing plus many Willow Warblers and at least twenty Sand Martins were at the recently dug out sand bank. Twenty two degrees centigrade produced many Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and at least two Orange Tip butterflies.