An extended family weekend break. Early April, mid Derbyshire. My expectation of seeing much of an avian nature was (I thought) realistically low, nestled as we were, in a house on the sides of an attractive valley at Ambergate. I was wrong. A singing Chiffchaff right by the house resorted to ‘swee’ calls in the evening. The first time I have heard this call in early spring (though I may have missed it). Then the real highlight, a superb male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Bit of a confession here: Sat at the back of rented accommodation, Mrs Garner comments:
“Is that a woodpecker making that noise?”
me: ” Well I can hardly hear anything but I don’t think so.”
Little later, Mrs G:
” There it is again. Sounds like a woodpecker or something to me.”
This time I could hear it more clearly- yes not a man-made, mechanical sound, I will go and have a look. Doh! It was a woodpecker! But one whose drumming I have very rarely heard. The drumming of a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. In the end a great couple of hours watching and listening, having been shown up by my non-birding wife!
Listen to the call <HERE>
Listen to the drumming <HERE>
Chiffchaff giving ‘swee-oo’ call, Wigg Island, North Cheshire April 2011. The 4 notes are followed by typical Chiffchaff song from another bird nearby.
The wooded slopes in Ambergate also had some beautify woodland flowers. It’s a long time since I was really into watching and identifying flora- but these took me back. Lesser Celandine was common places and the smell of crushed ‘Ramsons’ leaves. These below I tried to name from memory. Wood Sorrell, Wood Avens ( I don’t think thats right)? and some Primroses which look wrong for wild ones but in a wild place. Happy to receive corrections if I have the names wrong.