26 May 2009

Finally took a photo of a Great Spotted Woodpecker in Northern Ireland

Ireland is one of the only countries in Europe that does not have any Woodpeckers. However over the last two it has been suspected that the Great Spotted Woodpecker are now breeding in a number of locations from Co.Wicklow, Co.Dublin Co. Louth and Co.Down. The pair in Co. Down are only about three miles from my house as the crow flies and were believed to have bred for the first time last year with two young. They are breeding this year and fortunately for me they go and feed at some peanut feeders of friends of mine. Last Sunday Jill asked me if I would like to come and photograph them. So I headed over and spent an hour waiting to no avail. Of course I had only left when Jill rang to say it was back and later on in the evening there were two of them.

I have been waiting for some nice weather and I spent nearly four hours yesterday sitting in a hide near the feeder and I first of all heard the chip, chip sound they make and the male flew onto the feeder that I didn't have my camera trained on. Typical !! as I tried to manouevre the lens around it caught sight of movement and was off!! Then shortly after the female did exactly the reverse it landed on the feeder I had just been focused on and same again it was off. It was also getting very cloudy and dark so I called it a day.

This morning I finished work and it was a beautiful morning so I headed back and as I pulled up in the car I could see it on the feeder so I crept out of the car and got quite close and started to fire away. This was the best shot.

This is a British race adult male. Bill and fawn wash indicate that it is not a Scandinavian. There has been some speculation that they may have originally come from Scandinavia.


Dale Forbes said...

any idea why ireland never had woodpeckers in the past, and why they are there now? is there any speculation as to how they got there? assisted or natural?

this is a fascinating story and has really got the biogeographer in me interested.

Happy birding

Jeff said...

Congrats on finally getting the woodpecker photo! Even feeder photography can be frustrating, can't it?

BirdingMaine said...

Excellent post and photo!