Sunday 29 May 2022

Green Woodpeckers in Cornwall. 29th May 2022.

Female leaving the nest

I've been watching a tree in my local woods all through the late winter & early spring for signs of woodpeckers nesting.

The tree had several holes from previous years but I just couldn't suss out where they were this year. 

Yesterday I watched from a distance yet again and was rewarded by a fleeting view of a green woodpecker. I then settled down for a more prolonged wait to see where they were going as I know it's the time that they should be actively feeding their chicks.

Fortunately I spotted the male bird on the tree and with a bit of detective work found the nesthole at 180 degrees to the previous site.

Being particularly careful not to disturb them I visited again in the late afternoon & put up my hide on a steep slope some 40 metres from the tree in dense oak woodland. It's a very quiet area and I am confident that it won't get disturbed, especially as I really struggled to fight my way to it myself!

I'm using a Nikon 500mm f4 telephoto so doing all my photography from a discrete distance which was proven right this morning as I took a few images without the birds batting an eyelid.

The light in an oak wood is getting worse as more leaves break out so it is hard to cope with the dappled sunlight. In fact I'd sooner it was dull or even raining as the sun is burning out the highlights & yellowing up all the greens.

Here's a selection from my first couple of hours, hopefully I'll get a few more sessions under my belt as the adults are still climbing into the nest to feed so the chicks must still be fairly small.

Male green woodpecker with the red moustachial stripe

A tight squeeze in order to keep predators out

Female green woodpecker

Female green woodpecker


Thursday 19 May 2022

Looe island monthly seal survey with CSGRT. 18th May 2022.


Herring Gull on its nest

A brisk south easterly greeted us on arrival at Looe harbour for our monthly visit to St.George's island or Looe island as it's more commonly known. That is usually one of the worst wind directions for this trip as it blows directly into the harbour. We'd already had the survey postponed from the previous day due to the weather but fortunately boatman Dave Butters was confident he could get us out there & back safely if a bit damp!

We were met at the jetty by Jon & Claire and their new "summer help" Lucas & Megan so a full welcoming committee!

These surveys don't  merely focus on seals but also birds, insects, flora & human disturbance & interaction so we are always kept busy.

The birds were well into their annual breeding cycle with birds on eggs, feeding young & even some with free flying offspring.

Almost all of my photographs were taken from a distance with a 500mm lens so as not to cause any disturbance.

The seals were photographed from a really long distance and also when they were hauled out at low tide. This way our data processors can compare markings on the individual seals so as to try to get ID's on them.

Unfortunately rain started to come in at mid afternoon and it was quite persistent by the time the boat came to collect us so we ended up a bit damp by the time we made our way back to our cars.

Here are a few of my images from the day.


Herring Gull preening

Cormorant family




Great Black backed Gull

Great Black backed Gull nest with eggs

Herring Gull on nest

The recently renovated cottage

Resident workforce

Tractor shed

Ferns in the old cottage wall

Unfurling fern

Ivy-leaved Toadflax on the walls



Different shades of colour in the thrift flowers

Oystercatcher eggs


Oystercatcher turning its eggs

Oystercatcher incubating its eggs

Hen Pheasant

Rock Pipit




Great Black backed Gull on nest

Great Black backed Gull

Team Seal!

Now for the wet trip back to the mainland!


Waiting for the boat on the island beach




Sarah & Jasmina

Katie & Sarah


Tuesday 10 May 2022

Kingfishers on the River Camel. 10th May 2022


Male tussles with a large salmonid.

Both parents were very busy this morning carrying food to the nest burrow. 

I'm guessing the young should be about 17 days old now and it's evident that the size of the fish being carried bears that out.

Prey was bullheads and salmonids with no sign of lamprey on the menu today.

They frequently stopped to wash & preen with both birds taking time out to ensure their flight feathers were in perfect condition.

Dippers whizzed past all the time I was in my hide as I think the young have recently fledged. Also a female grey wagtail used the "kingfisher stick" a few times to call.

The female has a broken tip to her lower mandible...beak... so is easily recognisable but I was a bit taken aback after she turned up from upstream with earth on her beak. This is usually a sign of nest burrowing so I'm not sure of her intentions as she's not fledged the current brood yet. Seems a bit soon to be starting a nest for her 2nd brood but who knows!

All photographs taken under my Natural England Schedule 1 licence.

Male cleaning his feet

Male preening

Male preening

Female with a salmonid

Female fishing...note damaged lower mandible

The pair

Male with large salmonid

Female preening

Female with earth on her beak