OUR WOODPECKERS are the Green and the Great Spotted, both quite common in the area and, at the individual level, seemingly content to share territory. If there are Lesser Spotteds we haven't seen them yet. Greens of course are readily seen, heard and identified -- they're unmistakable! After a time, though, it's easy to tell when a Great Spotted is around from its regularly spaced chak calls, and then you get to recognise its flight pattern, crossing open spaces about 30-40 feet up with a second or so of powered flight followed by a brief glide, giving a dipping and rising flight path. Really worth finding with binos when in fresh plumage as the striking black, white and red colouration can be a treat to see (both sexes have scarlet vent (bum) feathers, but only the male has a red patch on the back of his head). A surprisingly noisy drummer too for quite a small bird!
For a tentative sighting of a Black Woodpecker pair see this page. I've not included it here as if they really were Black Woodpeckers they were birds of passage and have not been heard of since. Also, of course, they've never been recorded in this country as far as I know! Lots of "sightings", but none confirmed yet.
Green Woodpecker -- Picus viridis
This bird, with its rich, beautiful voice, makes some of my favourite woodland sounds. There's nothing quite like being woken by one calling loudly from just a few feet away after a long night recording owls! Here's a medley of calls made the morning after I'd been doing just that on 11 May 2006. I've seen this fella chasing one of our tawnies through the wood during the day. The calls were made within 12 minutes of each other. He didn't know I was around because I was in a tent. He can be heard having a good shake just after the funny calls in the middle. Mic is the Telinga with dish on, though the dish was pointing up at the Tawny Owls' nestbox, not at him.
Green Woodpecker (706.14 K) mp3, ca 35 s
The Green Woodpecker makes more calls and noises than I've managed to record so far, some rather fascinating and unexpected, leaving you wondering what it's talking about. Definitely a "chatty" bird.
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