Great Spotted Woodpecker 3Most years recently a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers have nested in a silver poplar tree at the end of our garden. They usually start prospecting in March, drilling several new exploratory holes (or sharpening their beaks) before going back to the original hole. Then they clean it out, chucking out the previous year’s debris, and carry out some minor home improvements. There is soft tapping from deep inside the trunk as they put the finishing touches to a new bookcase, or whatever they keep in there. Then the female lays the eggs, they share sitting and feeding duties, and in due course the nestlings fledge and fly.

This year, like everything else in the garden, they were late. However, much better late than never, they have returned. There is a carpet of mess and small wood chippings below the tree, the female has laid the eggs, and the male attentively lets her take a break to stretch her wings while he takes over the eggs. He still hasn’t got the front door quite to his liking yet. These photos were taken during the last couple of days. It’s lovely to have them back, and very tolerant of them to live so close to the centre of  a big city.

The male has a nest-watching perch in a nearby treeGreat Spotted Woodpecker 1

He keeps the entrance looking smart…Great Spotted Woodpecker 11…and checks all is well insideGreat Spotted Woodpecker 12The female comes to the doorway from time to time for a look aroundGreat Spotted Woodpecker 4I’ve noticed she often looks down for a while before fully emergingGreat Spotted Woodpecker 2The male usually stays close at hand, foraging on the same treeGreat Spotted Woodpecker 6 Great Spotted Woodpecker 7


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