Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wooden woodpecker

About a week ago, there was an intriguing report on the news services of a Black Woodpecker at a site in Cumbria. One or two birding blogs mentioned it too, there was a little flurry of activity on Twitter, and we braced ourselves for one of the biggest UK twitches of recent years. Even though it sounded rather unlikely, we're as insanely optimistic as most birdwatchers.

For some reason, even though they can be seen immediately on the other side of the Channel, Black Woodpeckers never make the short hop across the sea to the UK. This, then, looked mega.

Sadly, the bird turned out to be a model, placed on a telegraph pole specifically to deter Great Spotted Woodpeckers! Binoculars, scopes and cameras were put away, travel plans cancelled, Ginsters pasties returned to chiller cabinets in petrol station shops.

I’m not laughing too loud, though. On some allotments near to my house, someone has placed a handmade and highly realistic model of a Tawny Owl on a fencepost. No matter how many times I drive past it, I feel compelled to look and check that it isn’t, in fact, a real owl.

But all this talk of woodpeckers leads us to a little trivia test for you all. There are five woodpeckers on the British List – can you name them all?

Matt Merritt, features editor


Display Name said...

Eck - no. Can only think of the Lesser and Greater Spotted and the Green. So 3. Showing my ignorance!

Gerard Gorman said...

Lesser Spotted, Great Spotted, Green, Wryneck and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
Gerard Gorman.

Mike Weedon said...

Spot on, Gerard!