Thursday, 15 March 2012

4th time lucky!

Yesterday it was a bit misty & murky, so I decided to head back to Yarner Wood for another attempt at Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, having made one trip there already, plus 2 to Dunsford. I’ve only ever seen one LSW before, at Groby Pool in Leicestershire in 2008, and that one was silent. When I visited last week, I heard what I thought could be a LSW, the song wasn’t quite the same as the one on my phone App, but it was pretty close. Since then I’ve listened to a few more songs on the Avibase website & decided that it probably was one.

I arrived at about 10:00, parked up & started walking off towards the old hide. I was still beside the pond when I heard 'that' song again, coming from the woods just across the stream from the car park. I went back & started scanning the trees.  I got chatting to a couple of chaps that had just turned up, Dave & Edward, Cornish birders also in search of the LSW. The singing had stopped so we joined forces & headed up the Green Nature Trail to the East of the car park. We met a chap who pointed out a row of oaks, which is apparently the LSW's favoured spot. We looped around the heath & back along the track beside the oaks. No sign there, although we did hear faint drumming from the direction of the car park.

Back to the car park, where we saw a few Siskins on the feeder.  Edward sneaked in a quick ‘crib’ in the new hide (that’s Cornish for a snack!)  & we then headed up towards the old hide. We hadn’t gone far, in fact just beyond the pond when we heard singing again, coming from the large beech trees lining the track. It sounded really close & amazingly enough, when I looked up into the trees with my bins it was almost the first thing I saw! Yes!! A male LSW!! I was trying frantically to direct  Dave & Edward onto it, which wasn’t easy as it was a mass of large branches with no obvious reference point. I lost it myself a couple of times in the process, but luckily re-found it. Dave found it before it flew, followed by a second LSW! Dave saw where one of them landed in the trees to the East of the beech, it was a female & it stayed there long enough for me to take a few photos, us all to have a good look through Dave’s scope, dance about a bit in excitement, take a few more photos & have another look through the scope. We were like kids at Christmas!

Dave & Edward....happy birders!
It flew from trees in the foreground to the 'twiggy'one behind
There she is! Lovely!
We heard it singing a few more times before we headed up to the old hide, happy birders or what!! 

The feeders in front of the hide were busy again, with Blue, Great, Coal & Marsh Tits & the occasional Nuthatch, so I had a quick look before leaving Dave & Edward to have their lunch. I'd left mine in the van, so headed back to the car park to eat in the new hide. I heard more LSW song whilst eating, coming from the woods above the car park again. 

Dave & Edward had gone by the time I got back to the old hide, so I went for a quick circuit of the woods, quicker than planned as I took a wrong turning somewhere. I thought I'd found another hide but I'd actually been walking in a small circle & ended up back at the same one! I wandered about a bit & bumped into Dave & Edward again in the car park. They'd had another sighting somewhere in the middle of the woods beyond the hide. I also met Audrey, a fellow DBWPS member who hadn't seen an LSW, but had seen 2 Mandarin Ducks fly up from the pond when she arrived. 

I always carry my little Lumix camera with me, but after my last visit I thought I'd have a play with my Canon. Although I've had it a few years I've only just started learning how to use it in anything other than full auto mode. I went back to the old hide to experiment!

Marsh Tit
Coal Tit

A Siskin's bottom!

Before heading for home I drove up to have a look at the view across Trendlebere Down. It was quite impressive despite the fog.

View across Trendlebere Down
I'd certainly recommend a visit to Yarner Wood. It's a great reserve & even has a toilet with soft loo roll! Luxury! I'd had a fab day. I finally got my LSW and it's always nicer when there's someone to celebrate with! Dave & Edward were great company & I hope to bump into them again!

Year List 142 + 1 Sub-species


  1. That all provokes happy memories of the Groby Pool dance!

  2. The second one was just as good as the first!