Sunday, 27 May 2012

Eccleston Mere

I've been keeping my eye on a Great Spotted Woodpecker nest over the last few weeks, and today I was lucky enough to see an adult feeding a chick.

I could hear the young bird from the other side of the mere, it was making such a racket. It must drive its parents insane! Not in the least bit shy, it stuck its head out of its nest hole, and called away as I watched. You can see that it has the red crown of the young Great Spotted Woodpecker.

While I was watching, an adult flew in and fed the chick. You can see on this photo that the adult does not have the red crown. In fact it's probably the female, because it does not appear to have the red nape of the male. Interestingly, there is a second hole about 30cm higher up and on the side of the tree which I saw the birds using earlier in the month.

Canada Geese breed at the mere in quite large numbers, and on average raise about 30 goslings. This group is probably six families merged together.  You can see how much the chicks vary in size. There is another family with about five goslings which have not yet joined up with the main group, but they will eventually. I suspect that dominant pairs take over the ownership of the young, and the other adults just leave them to it.

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