Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Just the sort of place you'd expect to see the great spotted woodpecker but the one I saw was on the golden robinia in my neighbour's garden, early this morning. The sun was full on the bird but all I could see among the deep gold leaves of the robinia was the flash of ruby-red from under the bird's tail. I could hear it, however, hammering hard at something, clearly something very resistant and solid as it was a sharp, clear sound with no resonance. Robinia trunks are rarely a source of insects, they're so solid, so the bird had to be breaking something specific. After a while it shinned up the trunk in that bunch-and-let-go/ bunch-and-let-go way it has and I saw it had a hazel nut in its beak! It tried another crevice but clearly thought that no good so down it shinned again. It is a wonderful thing to watch a bird "abseiling" downwards - same movement as in going up, just a reverse direction. But so fast!
The colour of all this was brilliant, pure stained glass with sunlight pouring through:the deepening gold of the robinia leaves lit by sun, the glow of the bird's red, and the richly marked black and soft white of its wings neck and tail were as strong as I have ever seen them. The red was intense camellia. A joyful first moment of the day for sure!

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