Sunday, August 23, 2009

Peckers and Flickers

Paul sent me a few photos of the Green Woodpecker seen at Poulton Le Fylde last week. Nice pics of what is a pretty scarce bird in the Fylde and even Lancashire nowadays.

It set me thinking of where and when I had seen Green Woodpeckers locally. I think I used to see and hear them many years ago near Ellel Grange and along the canal but it seems so long ago I can’t be sure, perhaps some of the Lancaster bods can remind me? I have also glimpsed them in recent years near Barnacre Reservoir but only in ones and twos. I remember a single sighting at Lane Ends, Pilling when ringing there one autumn morning with the bird in question flying off to the tall trees at the old vicarage by Broadfleet Bridge.

When I do see Green Woodpeckers I am reminded of Northern Flicker, that highly migratory North American species. In the nineties I spent some weeks ringing in the spring at Long Point bird Observatory, Ontario and I recall that flickers were a real “vis migger”, noisy, conspicuous and plentiful. Some mornings we would catch dozens, mainly yellow shafted, but see and hear many more launching themselves off the point to head over Lake Erie. Because, just like Green Woopeckers, flickers feed on the ground a lot, not only did they get caught in the bottom panels of mist nets but they also found themselves feeding in the mouths of heligoland traps along with hordes of White- throated Sparrows.

So while I can claim to have ringed many flickers, along with Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Red-headed Woodpeckers and Downy Woodpeckers, I have yet to set my hands on a Green Woodpecker, so scarce are they locally.

You will have to put up with a page from my ancient “Peterson” until I can get my old slides digitised or maybe PW can come up with a few pics from the other side of the Atlantic to remind us how alike are Green Woodpecker and Northern Flicker. Can anyone recommend a good slide copier?


Pete Woodruff said...

Just to let you see I'm still looking in and enjoying your post's whilst keeping my eye on you to make sure your blog doesn't become a better one than mine......what was that, it already is did you say?

I have a slide copier you can borrow with pleasure Phil, I'll e-mail you about it soon.

Phil said...

Thanks Pete. Hope you trust me with techie equipment. Enjoy reading your blog, what do you think got me started?

Fleetwood Birder said...

Our first trip to Long Point was in the 1980s Phil. 1989 to be precise!

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