Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Robert D, who helped me to introduce this new module, put this article in "Sandpiper's Page" in the Development website.

Recently (28th March 2012) three of us decided to spend the day at Moore Narure Reserve, near Warrington. Our objective was to spend the day enjoying the exceptional warm and sunny spring weather at the time, but also to search for the elusive Lesser Spotted Woodpecker known to be present on the reserve.


On first arrival we went down to the feeding station and had woodpecker immediately. However this was of the Great Spotted variety. Two males were present in the area and seemed to be having somewhat of a dispute, possibly territorial, with much flying to and fro.

After a time there we headed back up the road and along the disused canal bank to what is apparently the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker’s favourite tree. This is an old and rotting trunk that has numerous holes bored in it up and down its length. I fear that if it bores many more holes in it then the top will break off! There was already a small crowd here, some who had been present since 8am (it was now 11:30am) without success. We waited for half an hour also without success before heading off to enjoy the rest of the reserve.

At 4pm we returned to the tree to find just one person waiting there. He thought he had heard some sound of woodpecker so we waited a bit longer. Within 5 minutes a Lesser Spotted flew in to the tree and commenced excavating. It had its back to us and its head was in the hole for most of the time, but occasionally it would stop and look around giving us excellent views. It was there for about 5 minutes before a Great Spotted Woodpecker, probably attracted by the tapping, swooped in and scared it away.

Speaking to the locals revealed that there is just one (or maybe two) male birds present – a female has not been seen for the last couple of years or so. There are believed to be three pairs present at Marbury Country Park near Northwich, and the birds are also present closer to home down the Bollin Valley at Styal Woods. However I have spent many fruitless hours searching at both these locations. It all goes to show that you need perseverance and a large slice of luck.

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