My garden appears to be a favoured site for a male green woodpecker at the moment. The bird’s arrival is signalled by a green blur as it flies to the grass, followed by a look of regal importance as it takes in its surroundings, the red crown drawing your eye.Hardly straying from one patch in the garden, this glorious bird probes its strong bill into the ground, using its long tongue to extract insects from beneath the surface. Appearing content the woodpecker’s body stays relatively still for a moment, the length of time its bill stays under the ground increasing – must have hit the jackpot! Soon however its attitude changes, probing the ground more quickly, then shuffling back in some sort of motion reminiscent of a moon walk before suddenly becoming violent, throwing pieces of turf around in search of its prey. Then after an hour or so the bird has had its fill from the garden food supply and flies suddenly over the fence with its characteristic undulating flight, laughing as it disappears from sight.
The plumage of the green woodpecker is truly beautiful. Despite the majority of its feathers appearing a blanket green, when looking closely the variations in shade are remarkable, as well as the yellow rump. The stark difference between the red crown and black eye patch make the bird look like some sort of masked bandit, who missed the memo to blend in. The red moustache mark below the bird’s black eye patch shows that the bird visiting my garden is a male.