Many of you may have noticed from my comments on your blogs that Woodpeckers are one of my favourite types of bird. I used to love watching them - and (of all things) I took my now wife to see a nest of Great Spotted Woodpeckers on our (sort of!) first date!
However, there is no a single woodpecker in Australia.While there are many woodpeckers in SE Asia, this group of birds does not make it over the Wallace Line - that great schism in biodiversity that cuts Australia from the rest of the world.
So, when I was in the UK I was keen to see some woodpeckers again. I managed to see Great Spotted on my first day there - and saw them a few times after as well. But I was never able to get any pictures.
In the last week of the trip I was in Somerset - and there feeding on the lawn of our accommodation was a Green Woodpecker. This was another case of quick dash for a camera. The birds we a bit too nervous to get too close, so the images are a bit over cropped. But none the less it was great to see them.
The bird in these pictures is a juvenile, the adults lack the barred feathers above and below.
Also, my kids got to see and hear them as well. An old name for this bird is a Yaffle - which is a rendering of its laughing call. (For those of you in the UK of a certain age, you may remember the wooden bookend woodpecker in Bagpuss called Professor Yaffle).
The Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis) often feeds on the ground, and has a well known appetite for ants. Strangely, most of the other species in this genus live in SE Asia.
Now its over to all you other bird bloggers, bloggers who bird and such like!
We seem to have stabilised the WBW community at about 50 people - but more would be good. So, invite your friends, share this post on Google+ and maybe even Facebook!