Thursday, 4 April 2013

Woodpecker and Wood

The soundtrack to my recent walk was rich in curlew calls, occasional lapwing, distant sheep and the drumming woodpecker (oh, and the wind!).

The wind I heard in the trees too, creaking, twisting and bending of wood fibre and the whip and clash of branches together.  Some of the wood was silent, perhaps torn down by previous winds and I spent some time looking over the beautifully textured knobbles and fissures in the fallen limbs.

Where the bark had fallen away, the wood was making more skin like surfaces.

I'm not sure what caused these pimples.

But burrowing insects made these little drill holes.

I came across a tree, dead, but still standing, which was the home of the woodpecker and full of the results of all that drumming.

This tree was riddled with the workings and markings of the woodpeckers, with many holes, new and old.

And beautiful fungi.

I heard woodpecker, drumming and calling, but didn't see any until, after having walked some distance from the dead tree, I heard the distinctive, loud, almost laughing, ringing woodpecker sound, and turned to see the undulating flight and a Green Woodpecker returning to the tree.

No wonder they've made home here, they feed on the grubs of wood-boring beetles and moths which they remove from the bark of trees with their long sticky tongues. They also love to eat ants which they will take from the ground as well as from the trees.  This would appear to be perfect habitat.  This one is possibly marking territory or making a new nest hole - egg laying time is in April or May, when between 5 and 7 are laid and only take fourteen days to incubate.  It is a long way off, but this is a female - the males have a red stripe, rather than black, under their eye.  Happy nesting Mrs Woodpecker.

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