Saturday, 10 June 2017

Diminutive Woodpeckers

At this time of year, the local great-spotted woodpeckers bring their newly fledged young to the feeder in our willow tree, and they arrived this morning. The adults hack out tiny bits of peanuts, shuffle up the branches, and delicately feed the waiting chicks. The young clumsily land on the feeder, but have no absolutely idea what to do, or even that the nuts right in front of them are for eating. After a few days of tuition they’ll gradually learn the ropes, and begin feeding for themselves. The family usually stays around well into the autumn.

Every summer I keep my eyes and ears open for the diminutive lesser-spotted woodpeckers in the woods around Oxwich Bay. I think they’re still there, and I've been lucky in the past, and I even caught one whilst mist-netting by the marsh many years ago. They’re notoriously difficult to see, usually keeping to the treetops and easier to locate by sound, but I haven’t heard one for years now. There are probably some in the woods at the top of the Clyne Valley, but again I’ve had no luck there either.

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