Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Discovery anywhere…

An extended family weekend break. Early April, mid Derbyshire. My expectation of seeing much of an avian nature was (I thought) realistically low, nestled as we were, in a house on the sides of an attractive valley at Ambergate. I was wrong. A singing Chiffchaff right by the house resorted to ‘swee’ calls in the evening. The first time I have heard this call in early spring (though I may have missed it). Then the real highlight, a superb male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Bit of a confession here: Sat at the back of rented accommodation, Mrs Garner comments:

“Is that a woodpecker making that noise?”

me: ” Well I can hardly hear anything but I don’t think so.”

Little later, Mrs G:

” There it is again. Sounds like a woodpecker or something to me.”

This time I could hear it more clearly- yes not a man-made, mechanical sound, I will go and have a look. Doh! It was a woodpecker! But one whose drumming I have very rarely heard. The drumming of a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. In the end a great couple of hours watching and listening, having been shown up by my non-birding wife!

Male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling (above) and drumming (below).

Listen to the call <HERE>

Listen to the drumming  <HERE>

Chiffchaff, March 2011, Rutland. I have heard the ‘swee’ and ‘swee-oo’ type call from birds at 3 different sites already this spring.

Chiffchaff giving ‘swee-oo’ call, Wigg Island, North Cheshire April 2011. The 4 notes are followed by typical Chiffchaff song from another bird nearby.

The wooded slopes in Ambergate also had some beautify woodland flowers. It’s a long time since I was really into watching and identifying flora- but these took me back. Lesser Celandine was common places and the smell of crushed ‘Ramsons’ leaves. These below I tried to name from memory. Wood Sorrell, Wood Avens ( I don’t think thats right)? and some Primroses which look wrong for wild ones but in a wild place. Happy to receive corrections if I have the names wrong.

About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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3 Responses to Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

  1. Be says:

    Hi Martin,
    I met you this morning with Jim at Fox Hagg. I am the senior ecologist with Sheffield Wildlife Trust. The flowers in your photos are, as you say, wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), the other small white ones are wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa) and primrose.
    Any news on the strange chiff chaff?
    Kind regards.

  2. Geoff Morgan says:

    Just had my first spring “sweeoo”-calling Chiffchaff – in the garden and it is early evening…
    No singing here though – and certainly no LSWs (if only!).


  3. Tim Sexey says:

    Also had wheezy ‘sweeoo’ing Chiffchaffs at Ogston Reservoir in Derbyshire on 6th(last Wed).Two different birds.First seemed to be alternating series of calls with bouts of song.

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