The drumming of the Great Spotted Woodpecker is one of the most evocative of spring, instantly recognisable. Learning to recognise another call, which woodpeckers use in flight, and when perched atop a tree, a sharp, loud ‘tchick’, repeated at regular intervals, allows you to detect the bird year-round. During this autumn, I have watched several woodpeckers, often males, using this call. In autumn and winter, there are territorial disputes are often in relation to roosting holes. This individual called from a tall dead branch in an urban park in Hull, where the Great Spotted Woodpecker is becoming a regular resident.
In the darkness of the conifer canopies where goldcrests live, their raised, fluffed up crests glow like little suns. A few days ago I watched a couple of these tiny birds, the male with more orangey crest, the female more lemony yellow, whistling and displaying their erect crest to each other in my local cemetery, a behaviour I hadn’t seen before. I took some photos, but they were underexposed and blurry, although captured the bird posture, and I could use them to draw today’s sketch. The goldcrests seem to float where they are perched like astronauts in a spaceship, their thin feet holding onto the twigs so as not to float away.