Again a very drab day and a persistent drizzle. Two male Great-spotted Woodpeckers were chasing each other round the higher branches and the Treecreeper was in a fair amount today. Looking through the Home Farm files it’s interesting to note that out of 40 or so images filed under Great-spotted Woodpecker, only one of those is a female! Where then are the they?
I have been photographing them on the Farm since April and about 40 yards from our feeding area a pair successfully raised a brood, the noise from inside the tree could, on occasions, be heard from the hide. But during this time no females came down to feed. Red Caps have been around and, as evidenced from the files, the male was regularly down. This small observation though, highlights how little I know of the habits of the birds on the Farm. So many questions unanswered: Are they heavily territorial? How many pairs do we have on the Farm? Is it the same bird that visits the feeding station? How can I tell? Where do the young of the season disperse to? I could, of course, go on and on. To piece together the real story of these birds would require many hours of continual watching, ringing or tagging and becoming part of the wood they inhabit. Unfortunately I will never to get to answer these questions myself, but it wont stop me enjoying their antics or photographing them each time they make a call.
Today a male dropped in on the closet branch we have to the hide. With the 300mm it was just in the focus range and although it stayed only briefly, the encounter was a thrill. To see, at such close quarters, the structure of its feet, the attentiveness in the eye and the striking pied patterning of its plumage, is simply a privilege.