|The best picture I got this morning|
When I say "tried in vain", emphasis is on the tried. From the start of February to mid-April, for the last few years, I have extensively walked through the best looking areas, using my '1 drumming, 1 call' play-back technique. I have got nowhere, left wondering where these fleeting winter individuals come from. Anyway, I was at it again this morning, squeezing in a session before work. Having failed at previous places, I arrived at one site and played the drumming call on my speaker. Almost straight away, a bird responded, and it sounded good for Lesser Spotted. It wasn't long before I heard that distinctive call, and after a nervy few minutes a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker flew in, and landed extremely close to me. I was delighted - this species is suffering a horrendous decline, and they are seemingly very thin on the ground in Surrey these days (though I believe they are there to be found, there just aren't enough people looking). I enjoyed fantastic views (best for 15+ years!), and then the bird flew off.
The drumming picked up again further away, but as I began to try and relocate the individual another bird flew across my line of vision, and landed in a separate tree. I got it in the bins, and with the drumming still going on it was clear I had a pair! I was pretty excited, and figured that given everyone wants a photo these days, reached for the camera. After a lengthy spell of cat and mouse in the tree tops, I managed a couple of woeful shots. I enjoyed the moment - I had never seen more than one Lesser Spotted Woodpecker before, and I eventually tracked down the drumming, which resulted in the discovery of some very good looking holes.
|No photography prizes here|
So, potentially, a pair of prospective breeders, right here on my patch. I am going to monitor the situation as much as I can over the coming weeks. Interestingly, I rarely note Great Spotted Woodpeckers here, but did have an individual come down and investigate my call-playing last week. Should they stick around, they will be additions to the fine list of rare breeding birds in my recording area. Furthermore, it brings me to 84 for the patch year list, a figure normally reached until early April!
Elsewhere today, a Little Egret coming into summer plumage was present at Bramley Park Lake early on, though it departed north. Yesterday a staggering 94 Greylag Geese were on the site, including a flock of 79 at Gatestreet Farm. Birdsong is getting louder by the day - spring is coming.