Green woodpecker, Retford cemetery
We’ve had great difficulty trying to capture a picture of this bird!
The first stop in our hunt to photograph the green woodpecker was an afternoon out in Louth. We’d been told by a friend that he often saw them on the ground there, whilst visiting relatives’ graves. As soon as we walked through the entrance to the cemetery, one flew into a holly bush straight past us – but it was camouflaged in the bush and we couldn’t get a picture.
We carried on walking round for at least an hour, when Alison spotted one on the ground by a gravestone – great, our patience had been rewarded.
Green woodpecker, Louth cemetery
However, we were determined to find one a little closer to home .
So our next stop was Hallcroft fisheries, where we saw one in a tree, but it flew away fairly quickly.
We were also told that these birds had been seen regularly at Babworth golf course, so that was our next place to venture. After several visits only hearing them and not seeing any, we spotted one next to a small pond. It was getting a drink from the pond and having a bath – an exciting spot for us!
Green woodpecker, Babworth golf course
We watched it for quite some time until it flew away.
A few days ago, we decided to have a walk around the cemetery at Retford, where we were delighted to find another green woodpecker! We’ve spotted one here a few times now, and have managed to get some decent pictures (see above).
The green woodpecker is the largest of the woodpeckers, and is known as “yaffle” due to its call resembling a laugh (“yah yah yah”!). This species is often found on the ground, and doesn’t drum on trees as much as its relatives the great and lesser spotted woodpeckers. It uses its incredibly long tongue and dagger-like bill to find and eat ants. We’ve spent many hours trying to get pictures of this bird, so we put this one towards the top of our birding list: a beautiful, slender bird. Watch out for its darting flight if you disturb one.
So our search for a green woodpecker has taken us to various places near and further away, but we were finally rewarded with one on our doorstep. “Yaffle” do nicely.