Monday, 15 December 2008
Coming to a bird table near you!
We have a bird table just outside our kitchen window. We spend a small fortune on sunflower hearts (without husks, as the husks make such a mess), mixed seeds, fat balls and peanuts. As a result of this, and of the fact that it has such good cover close by so that the birds can nip into the rhododendrons quickly if the sparrow hawk comes, we get a huge variety of bird life. Nothing rare but most days we get chaffinch, greenfinch, tree sparrow, hedge sparrow, robin, blackbird, coal tit, great tit, blue tit, long-tailed tit (sometimes), yellow hammer, collared dove and greater-spotted woodpecker. Quite often we have as many as twenty four chaffinch.
But it is the greater-spotted woodpecker who causes us the most pleasure. It is a he as he has a red nape. His arrival always follows the same pattern. First of all he lands on a pine tree trunk, looks around, then nips across to the shaft of the bird table and goes up and down that several times, finally landing on the peanuts.
Everything moves out of his way! It is a perfect example of the pecking order. When he has had his fill of nuts (and you can almost visibly see them going down as he eats them) he looks around for deserts and zips back to the Scots Pines to travel up and down the trunk, searching under the bark for juicy grubs. Bits of bark come flying through the air as he rips them off in his search.
Some time ago I put a gremlin shaped piece of bark on my blog - how clever of the woodpecker to peck off a gremlin, I said. Pat suggested it was a Hamish McTavish - and once the suggestion had been put in my head I could see the wee Scots fellow.
Well- now I want you to suspend belief for a while - that woodpecker
has been even more clever, because this time he has pecked off a map of Britain (no Northern Ireland, sorry).
OK - so I know there is no Severn Estuary, no Solway Firth, to name but two omissions.I don't expect he has travelled all that far, But it is Christmas - wrapping presents, making mince pies, icing cakes,
stuffing the turkey - need I go on? I like to put something on my blog every day if I can, and I have had this map sitting in my photo album for three weeks, waiting for the right occasion. And this is it. Done, dusted - will get back to mince pies now. Happy Christmas!