Wood you believe it!
IT’S not every day that you spot something as exciting as a green woodpecker in your garden.
But this revealing photo was taken by Darren Cairns at his home in Redmarshall.
Dad Alan forwarded the picture and said: “The last time I can recall seeing a green woodpecker was eight years ago on High Moor at Middleham.
“Seeing any woodpecker these days is a buzz, so this is very special.”
It’s something of a bonus when you see a green woodpecker in the Cleveland area, because these pigeon-sized birds are much less common in the North than in the South.
I occasionally visit my sister at her home in Guildford and have been welcomed on many mornings by the sight of a couple of green woodpeckers mooching around on her lawn.
When I’ve made train journeys to report on Boro games in the past, I’ve occasionally seen the familiar yellow rump of a green woodpecker as it darts up into the air after being alarmed by the noise of the train.
But, in and around Teesside, I have tended to hear them rather than see them.
Green woodpeckers, or yaffles as they are also commonly known, have a distinct loud cry which gives the impression that they are laughing at you.
However it’s no laughing matter when you spend 15 minutes trying and failing to spot them through your binoculars in a tree.
Naturally green woodpeckers do make themselves visible when they are feeding on the edge of woodland, because their staple diet is ants. They are best spotted feeding on short grassy pasture and, of course, lawns.
And talking of spotting top birds in your gaden, Marie Medcalf looked out of her bedroom window in Marton to see a kingfisher perched on the edge of her ground floor roof.
The remarkable iridescent little bird hung around for about ten minutes and eventually dropped down to the rocks surrounding Marie’s garden pond, but then flew off.
It’s a magical spectacle for anybody to witness, which goes to show you need to be alert all the time because you never know when wildlife moments will occur.
At this time of the year, young birds in particular are still finding their bearings and could turn up anywhere.
A couple of years ago I had a juvenile redstart briefly perching on my washing line. It pays to keep your eyes open in the garden!
Eric would like to hear from readers about what they have seen. Email him at eric.pay[email protected]