My bird feeding array has been set up outside the window of my study. I can gaze from here and contemplate the important things in life such as, “ is my trellis crooked, or is my neighbour’s fence slightly off horizontal?”. You know, the kind of things that keep pedants awake at night. As I flick through eBay looking for a laser-sighted spirit level, a flash of black and white passes the window and lands on the peanut-drilled log.

LSN 26Apr16 Greater Spotted Woodpecker 02

This is the male Greater Spotted Woodpecker (note, it is the woodpecker that is greater, not the spots). The large, oval shoulder patches are not the source of his name. The white marks are more like splodges. The spotted element of the name comes from the white spots on the wing feathers. They are visible in the photos, but are revealed properly as the wing is spread.

LSN 26Apr16 Greater Spotted Woodpecker 06

There is also a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Compare the two as one might compare the Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers. With the larger Dendrocopos major around starling-sized whilst Dendrocopos minor measures up to a sparrow.

LSN 01Apr16 Great Spotted Woodpecker 02

There is also a female and I assume them to be a pair nesting nearby. There is ancient woodland very close in 3 directions with ample nesting opportunities. The female lacks the red nape patch of the male.

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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet has been working for over 33 years as a crew member/flight attendant and enjoys the well-ventilated air of the outdoors. The nom de blog, Redgannet, was adopted to add an air of mystery and to make himself more attractive to women. His father first whetted Redguga's appetite for all things natural by buying him his first pair of 7x35s and a copy of Thorburn's Birds. Having no mentor beyond an indulgent parent, he spent the first season hoping for an Egyptian Vulture at the bird table in his English garden. His most memorable birding moment is seeing an Egyptian Vulture with those same binoculars 26 years later. Redgannet is married to Canon, but his heart and half of his house belongs to Helen and their son Joseph. He is looking forward to communicating with people who don't ask if he is searching for the "feathered variety" of bird.