An update on yesterdays blog post. I posted a photo of Bill the GS Woodpecker from Mum's garden, on to the Birding London Facebook page asking if anyone would know how a woodpecker could sustain such damage to its beak. A very nice man called Martin Gray replied:-
"Your male has an undershot lower mandible. He seems to be coping with this but I wonder how he would do without feeders. The crack you mention in the bill is I believe just part of their bill structure. The brownish tone in the iris is normal too. I have photos of GSW in the hand in strong sunlight, showing reddish brown irises."
So our Bill does not have beak damage nor a head trauma. He is actually quite normal but obviously looks a little different from the other male GS Woodpecker that visits Mum's garden, and we will have to make sure we keep the feeder topped up for him. So Mum has two males visiting her garden. Lucky Mum !
I was at Cranford Park early this morning. My last visit (link to blog post 3rd May) had confirmed we definitely have a pair of GS Woodpeckers nesting near to the Information Centre.
There will be many more pairs nesting within the woods, but this is the only nest tree I have found so far this year.
So today this was the first place I visited. The male was very active bringing in food about every ten minutes. With it being so early in the morning, there were no dog walkers or children running around, and the M4 traffic was very light, so I could hear things much clearer, and in between feeds I could definitely hear chicks calling.
|the male - note the red crown|
Tony had visited the park yesterday and he had noted on his blog that the male was bringing food to the hole and that the female was inside. But as I watched today, not long after the male left the nest for the third time, the female then arrived with a beak full of insects and grubs. Its certainly our female, she has a ring on her leg.
However she didn't fly off after feeding the chicks, but just sat with her head at the nest hole.
So we have Great Spotted Woodpecker chicks. If my calculations are right, the juveniles should fledge around the 6th-10th June. We'll see the juveniles before then though as they'll be squabbling amongst themselves and calling for food from the nest hole.
The Green Woodpecker nest site is still under siege from the Marmite Parakeets. The Battle of the Green Birds continues. On my first visit this morning, there were two parakeets, one of them right on the nest hole with his partner-in-crime next to him.
And although I could hear a Green Woodpecker 'waffling' from a nearby tree, I couldn't locate it and it didn't attempt to move the parakeets on.
I checked the nest tree again an hour later from a different angle, and again saw a parakeet at the nest hole
On my third visit however, both parakeets had gone and there was a Green Woodpecker inside the nest peering out. By the time I'd lifted my camera to get a shot, the bird had disappeared back inside and didn't reappear while I waited.
So, our Green Woodpeckers look to be safe for now and as I didn't witness any woodpecker taking food to the hole, I presume they are still on eggs.
Our Wren nest has been almost completely obscured by nettles and brambles, and as I haven't been able to visit the site since the 3rd May, I have no idea if the nest was ever used at all. If it had the young would have fledged by now.
The Stock Dove hollow also shows no signs of life, although they could have also fledged.
The Great Tits in the nest box outside the Information Centre have definitely fledged, but I don't know on what date.
So I only have two nest sites to monitor now, three if you include the Kestrels. All I can do with the Kestrels is look out for when the juveniles leave the nest tree. The eggs should have hatched about a week ago so there will be more Kestrel activity as the days go on, with eventually both the male and female bringing in food for the nestlings.
Up by the river I watched one of the Kingfishers fly towards the stone bridge, and saw our resident male Kestrel, with the damaged tail feathers, drifting over towards the airport.
In the Memorial Garden, an area has been given over for poppies. It will look glorious when it has established.
And finally a link to Tony James blog post from yesterday.