Vagrant woodpeckers

Couldn’t resist a quick post on this, having seen Scotland’s first Lesser Spotted Woodpecker yesterday. Found in Scalloway (Shetland’s ‘second city’) by Rob Fray yesterday afternoon, it showed exceptionally well near the health centre yesterday evening – pics below thanks to Rebecca Nason, who was standing next to me at the time.

Interesting to compare it with the pics from Varanger featured on this blog earlier in the year (click here).

The Shetland bird didn’t really look like the Varanger one. The underparts were distinctly grubby white, maybe more so in the field than is apparent in the pics, with thin, well-defined dark streaks; and it had distinctly buffy grey forehead and ear-coverts. The one thing that did strike me was that it was larger than I’d expected, maybe 20% bigger than House Sparrow (and nominate minor is larger – longer-winged and heavier – than British comminutus – which by the way is the only form on the British List at the moment). Maybe it’s too long since I saw a Lesser Spot sitting next to a sparrow (maybe I never have) – but it wasn’t quite as diddy as I was expecting. It must surely be a continental bird though? Be interested in any comments from anyone lucky enough to watch Lesser Spots on a regular basis in the UK.


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