Monday, 5 January 2015

A woodpecker and a leaping squirrel at College Lake

It's the last day of the holidays before the kids go back to school and they chose to visit College Lake again. They love peeping out of the bird hides and exploring the trails through the woods. You never know what you might see and today was no exception as we had a close encounter with a Greater Spotted Woodpecker and marveled at some squirrel acrobatics.

At the hide in the woods, a very cheeky squirrel was raiding the bird table. We watched him for a while, then he suddenly leapt from the table to a hanging bird feeder about 6+ feet away. He crashed into the feeder and bounced off, landing in a heap on the floor under the feeder. It was hard to see him because of the bushes in the way, but he seemed to be lying very still. Bug Mad Girl was almost ready to mount a rescue mission, when we realized he was just eating the seed from the floor where he'd landed! He picked himself up again, climbed up onto the bird table again and had another go. This time he made a better leap, managed to hang on tight to the feeder and got his reward. We watched him make this massive leap 4 or 5 times and he only missed that one time.


We saw all sorts of birds on the feeders (dodging the flying squirrel), including blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long-tail tits, chaffinches, greenfinches, dunnocks, robins and blackbirds. We also spotted a goldfinch in the bushes.

Blue tit


Great tit and greenfinch
Then we peeped through a hedge at another feeding station and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker was feeding right next to us. It stayed on the feeders for a long time and gave us a really good look. I've never seen one so close before, so it was a real treat. The red patch on the back of his neck means he's a male - what a handsome chap!

We headed down to the hides around the lake to see what else we could find. There were lots of tufted ducks, wigeons and swans. We also saw a cormorant that flew around for a while before landing on the water and several Canada geese. One of the islands in the middle of the lake was covered in lapwings.

Canada geese

Mute swan

Tufted ducks


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