Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day Black Woodpecker

This morning I accompanied my father-in-law down to his weekend house at Lake Balaton where a little winter maintenance was needed. When checking the building we noticed some holes on the wooden walls and doors. This is not the first time we have found such holes. They are made by Great Spotted Woodpeckers boring into the wood every winter, when no one is around, looking for hibernating invertebrates. I told my father-in-law how this was a major problem in some parts of Scandinavia and that there Black Woodpeckers were often the culprits and how the holes they made are so big that home-owners can sometimes get permission to cull these huge woodpeckers. As soon as we stopped talking about this there was a call overhead and, believe it or not, a Black Woodpecker swooped into the large oak tree in the neighbouring garden. I gave a few calls and the bird responded, came back, landed briefly on another tree, and then headed off again. Now I have seen 4 species of woodpecker by that weekend house but never a Black Woodpecker. It was a weird few moments. Sometimes truth IS stranger than fiction...

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