Thursday, 14 April 2011

I Creep for a Woodpecker and a Tree Creeper Creeps for Me!

What lovely weather most of us in the UK have experienced in the last week or so. We had temperatures of well over 20C (68F) for several days and it was a pleasure to get out and enjoy all that Nature has to offer at this loveliest time of the year.

(Common Primrose)

'Now beauteous spring bursts forth to view,
And decks the earth with flow'rs,
And the songsters sing on dewy wing,
Rejoicing in the bow'rs.'
(Thomas Eagles)

As is so often the case in this country though the temperature has dipped again in the last day or so and is now less than half what it was!

Walking very near to home last weekend I kept hearing the laugh or yaffle of a Green Woodpecker. So often they are heard but not seen but on this occasion I had the last laugh :) as I saw it fly across in front of me and land in a tree in a hedgerow and was able to gradually creep closer to it with the camera.

Green Woodpecker

When I got home and processed the photos I was surprised to see that lower down in the tree, (as seen in the photo at the beginning of this post) there was also another woodpecker which I had been completely unaware of at the time.

'The green woodpecker flying up and down
With wings of mellow green and speckled crown.'
(John Clare)

During the same walk I was keeping an eye out in case I saw the Roe Deer which I had seen there (and posted about here) last year. This time I wasn't lucky enough to see them but I was thrilled instead to see this lovely little Muntjac Deer.

Muntjac Deer

The warm weather has brought all the Spring flowers out and I found this Green Alkarnet

Green Alkarnet

and these Coltsfoot with Violets in the background

Coltsfoot and Violets

These Marsh Marigolds, as their name suggests, were growing in their favoured habitat by water

Marsh Marigolds

and a flower which every year at this time, is just starting to spread its beautiful blue carpet over much of the woodland in the UK.


'The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit's care.'
(Emily Bronte)

During a visit to Draycote Water it was lovely to see lots of delightful and vividly coloured Yellow Wagtails. I have seen them there each year I have been, either flitting around on the rocks or, as this time, on the grassy bank feeding on the many flies which so often plague the walkers, joggers and cyclists.

Yellow Wagtail

You can see the following one was actually sizing up its quarry!

The warm weather has of course also seen the welcome return of butterflies and after seeing many Orange Tips frustratingly whizz past me with no chance of a photo I was eventually rewarded with a nice open winged pose.

Orange Tip Butterfly (male)

'Child of the sun! pursue thy rapturous flight,
Mingling with her thou lov'st in fields of light;
And where the flowers of paradise unfold,
Quaff fragrant nectar from their cups of gold.'
(Charles Burton)

This Speckled Wood was the first I had seen this year and posed well for me.

Speckled Wood Butterfly

I should also have been able to post some nice photos of a Peacock butterfly but unfortunately I found that all of the ones I had taken of it as well as some of a Mallard with her tiny ducklings had mistakenly been taken with the white balance setting on my camera set to tungsten light instead of sunlight which meant all the photos had a horrible turquoise hue...I am still kicking myself!!

An unexpected find during the Draycote visit was a distant view of this Stoat which was no doubt preying on the numerous Rabbits which can always be seen there. It seems incredible that a creature so relatively small can catch and kill another much larger one. It pounces on the Rabbit, killing it with a bite to the back of its neck. If it is able to obtain more food than it can eat the Stoat will often store extra food for later. It is capable of speeds of 20mph when hunting and can cover a distance of around 4 miles in a single hunt! The collective name for Stoats is a 'caravan'.


Another walk closer to home produced another unexpected sight. I think they are Red-legged Partridges but they could possibly be Chukar Partridges, again they were very distant.

Red-legged (or possibly Chukar) Partridges

'The partridge makes no nest but on the ground
Lays many eggs and I have often found
Sixteen or eighteen in a beaten seat
When tracing oer the fields or weeding wheat.'
(John Clare)

Finally, a couple of days ago, I was pleased to get some fairly decent photos of a Treecreeper at last. Usually I only manage one either disappearing round the back of a tree or completely out of focus.


Have a good weekend and ... enjoy the beauty of Nature wherever you are.


  1. Wow - what a wonderful variety of wildlife on your post again.

    and 2 woodies in the same tree? now that's being plain greedy lol

    Another enjoyable and well illustrated read :D

  2. All beautifully presented as usual Jan, I paricually like the Wagtail after the fly - and what would you do without John Clare to keep you company.

  3. Shysongbird ,
    Great double Gn.Woodpecker shot with the male below , eying up the female , but surely you had the 'last yaffle' ?
    Muntjac , which I have never seen in the wild , and Stoat in the same visit , and great shots too , very well done .
    Shame about the white balance problem .
    That antipodian Treecreeper is a long way from home .
    Most enjoyable .

  4. Wow what a wonderful day you got, plenty of things... But the stoat and the partridge are the best for me even if the first shot of the woodpecker is splendid!! Well done!

  5. Well, well, you have collected such a lovely crowd, especially the Muntjac Deer, Treecreeper and the Yellow Wagtail; brilliant Jan.

  6. I'm really pleased for you that you got a Treecreeper photo Songbird, I know you've been after one for a while :-)

    Bit like me and the Orange Tip! You seem to have charmed one into posing for you though!

    Lots of spring left yet, so I await your next report with anticipation ;-)

  7. Hi Jan
    What a beautiful selection of Wildlife images you have given us this time. The Muntjac Deer and all the Spring flora are lovely and those bird images are superb and some of the most difficult species to photograph. Treecreepers are very rare this far down in Cornwall,and a lot of Yellow Wags are just flyover passage birds.So you see you do get some species that are hard for us to get.
    Super post I've really enjoyed it

  8. Some great photos there Jan. I can't make up my mind which are my favourites. The Green Woodpeckers are great, far better than I have managed, and two in the same shot!
    But how can I not vote for one of my favourite animals, the Stoat.
    I also love the Yellow Wag eyeing up it's lunch. Then there's the superb Treecreepers. You've made it too difficult to choose, so I won't. Great post!!

  9. Shy, Your posts are always worth the wait! :-) I always feel as though I've had a grand tour with you. Wasn't that fun to discover the second woodpecker? The first one is quite the scene-stealer. The second one reminds me of our little Downy Woodpeckers that cling to the side of (their perch) before committing themselves to being forward enough to get what they want. ;-) Beautiful combination of flora, fauna and poetry.

  10. What a showcase of British wildlife Jan! The little Yellow Wagtail is just lovely. I'm still wondering where on earth the plural 'caravan' of stoats came from?

  11. I agree with everyone Jan – wow what a wonderful variety of wildlife in this post! What lucky captures you had too. The sun was definitely shining on you this time :-)

    I love the two green woodpeckers – I’ve only seen the spotted ones up here. The stoat capture is a fav here together with the treecreeper. I love watching that bird.

    However, the wild flowers are just wonderful! Bluebells are still a bit away up hear but the primroses are well underway now. Ah coltsfoot is another that I remember from my childhood walks. I can’t remember now if I added them to my posies of cuckoo flowers for my Mum :-)

    Wishing you a great weekend with much to see and photograph :-D

  12. What a lovely post, with some great shots, you have certainly had an interesting time. I love the Yellow Wag. catching a fly and nice to get the Muntjac and Stoat pics and that Treecreeper was certainly worth waiting for :-)

  13. Tricia

    Thank you Tricia, I was so busy trying to photograph the woody at the top of the tree that I really didn't spot the other one until I looked at the photos when I got home...and what a nice surprise it was :)

    Derek Faulkner

    Thank you Derek, I was quite pleased with the wagtail and fly photo but as usual wished I could have got closer! Yes, John Clare is a good companion :)


    Thank you Greenie, whether it was the laugh or the yaffle, I certainly had the last one when I found I had two birds :)
    I was really pleased to see the Muntjac, they are so small!
    It was good to get a decent photo at last of the 'down under' Treecreeper ;)


    Thank you Chris, the Stoat and Partridges were very unexpected and although distant I was thrilled to see them :)

    Bob Bushell

    Thank you Bob, I have had some very nice finds recently :)

    Warren Baker

    Thank you Warren :) Yes, I was really pleased as the ones I have had in the past have always been blurry or just disappearing. It was only in sight for a moment so I was amazed it was in focus!
    I'm sure you'll get a cooperative Orange Tip soon :)


    Thank you Monty :) I had no idea Treecreepers are rare in parts of Cornwall!! To be honest the only place I have ever seen Yellow Wagtails is at Draycote, they do seem to like it there...mind you I'm not surprised with the huge amount of flies that plague us there at this time of year!


    Thank you Phil, it was a very pleasant surprise when I got home to find there were two woodpeckers in the photos :)
    The Stoat is a fascinating little creature, quite a fearsome predator!

  14. I'm with everyone else Jan, hard to pick a favorite. Again, I do like the Green Woodpecker though and was quite taken with the type of deer you have there. Another wonderful collection of photos.
    You have a great weekend too. Oh and you'll have to pop over and see the video of a rescued baby Hummingbird that I put on the other day. It's really cute.

  15. What a lovely walk, Jan. I'm so glad you included the stoat; they are not found in my state, and I know very little about them. They don't look like they would be fast enough to catch a rabbit, but then I've only seen pictures of them standing up like this and never running. I love some of the names for a group of animals, like a "murder of crows." A "caravan" makes me think the stoats must have wagons camped out somewhere:)

    The birds are delightful as always, but it's also nice to see all your wildflowers in bloom as well. We've also had very warm weather this past week, which has brought everything into bloom, but cooler temperatures this weekend may halt everything for a while. Have a great weekend!

  16. Hi Jan, I just needed to come back and say how glad I was that you enjoyed the video. But . . . I didn't make it - it was on YouTube and I thought it was so special I just put a link to it so everyone could enjoy it.

  17. Shady Gardener

    Thank you Shady, yes it was fun and totally unexpected to discover the second one :)
    You are so lucky to see woodpeckers in your garden, I know they sometimes visit garden feeders over here but I have only seen one at mine once and very fleetingly but that was the Great Spotted Woodpecker.


    Thank you Dan, The wagtails are such a brilliant canary yellow, really delightful to see flitting about, my husband calls them 'flying custard' :)
    I would love to know where the term 'caravan' of Stoats comes from, it's really intriguing isn't it? I believe they are also sometimes called a 'pack' and a 'trip'.

  18. shirl

    Thank you Shirl :) I love this time of the year when it is sunny and warm but not hot or humid! Not so nice here for the last few days though.
    I think you do get the Green Woodpecker where you are but maybe they are few and far between, I know they are not seen further up in Scotland. The Treecreepers are fascinating little birds. I am always surprised, when I see one, to be reminded just how small they are!
    I heard on the TV that the Bluebells are about two weeks early due to the recent warm weather.
    I hope you have a lovely weekend too :)

    Alan Pavey

    Thank you Alan, it has been good to get out in the lovely weather, not so nice the last few days though.
    I had waited a long time for some decent Treecreeper photos, and I must admit I was pleased to get the wagtail with the fly :)

  19. How wonderful to see all the wildlife and how different it is, although some is the same with different names.

  20. Hi ShySongbird,
    Thanks for visiting my blog, I am reciprocating! Some great shots of our wonderful and varied wildlife!
    I will return, that`s if you will have me! ;)
    Follow me at HEDGELANDTALES

  21. Hi Jan. FAB post with a lovely mixture of Spring flora and fauna. Great pics of the TC and I love the Stoat in its periscope pose.

  22. Rain Gardener

    Thank you Linda, that little Muntjac Deer was very small, a lot smaller than the other deer we have here.
    I loved the baby Humming Bird video, it really was amazing. Thank you too for pointing out it wasn't your own video...silly me ;)


    Thank you Rose, Stoats don't like to be seen in the open so I was lucky to spot it. I saw it running and it certainly does move fast! Yes, I too had visions of a caravan bursting with Stoats off on their holidays :)
    It turned much cooler her too in the last few days and has been very dull but it is supposed to improve a little over the weekend.
    I'm so glad Spring has reached you at last and brought your lovely flowers into bloom.
    Hope you have a lovely Spring filled weekend :)

    Country Mouse Studio

    Thank you Carole. How nice to have you back in blogland. I hope you are feeling much better now :)

  23. Lovely photos of the woodpeckers and the tree creeper Jan, plus all the spring flowers to brighten up the dull days following that nice warm spell of weather.

  24. Lots of lovely images here Jan, that is a superb Treecreeper and to get two Green Woodpeckers in the same shot is so unusual.

  25. Oh Wow! How did I miss this one?/ What great pictures!! I did not know that your "Stoat" was the same thing as our Short tailed Weasel!! I think they are so cute!! I finally got to see one last fall for the first time ever but I did not like it when I saw him grab a chipmunk. maybe the foxes got him because I never saw him again. But I did manage to get some pictures. That was the most exciting day for me. Ha!
    I love those two hens walking down the dirt path. So cute!! I'm seeing a lot more woodpeckers this year. Your wood creepers are cute. Take care Jan and thanks for telling me about your "Stoat'!! Hugs!!!!!!

  26. John

    Welcome! Thank you for visiting, commenting and following. I do hope you visit again you will be very welcome here any time :)


    Hi Frank, thank you, it was good to have a Treecreeper cooperate for once :) The Stoat had spotted me and was heading for cover but couldn't resist a quick look around :) it was quite a distance away though.

  27. Midmarsh John

    Thank you John, it is just starting to get milder and brighter again here. I hope it improves for you too :)


    Thank you Roy, The second Woodpecker was a very welcome bonus :)


    Thank you Ginny, I had no idea either, that they are one and the same and never would have known if you hadn't told me :) I just popped back to your blog and found the incident you mentioned and it all came back to me, I had even commented on it at the time!!
    I too seem to be doing quite well for woodpecker sightings lately.
    You take care too and enjoy the rest of the weekend...Big Hugs! :)

  28. An excellent, varied set Jan.
    Well done with the woodpeckers; they always see me coming!
    Great catch of the wagtail eyeing up the fly; and I love the Stoat.
    Great captures of the Treecreeper too. Another difficult bird to get close to.

  29. How did I miss this delightful post! Thanks for mentioning that you had posted the Woodpecker shots in your comments to me! What a great discovery to find you had actually taken a photo of two of them. I love finding surprises like that when downloading my photos. What striking eyes they have!
    A sweet looking Muntjac Deer that I’ll have to read up on them has some lush grass to enjoy. A mixture of pretty blue and yellow wildflowers are definitely signs that you are enjoying spring temperatures. The Yellow Wagtail is an attractive little bird, and how amazing to capture his interest in ‘lunch’ as it flew by.
    The Stoat looks just like those fellows from the Wild Woods in Wind in the Willows!
    What an interesting looking chap is the Treecreeper! You must have been delighted to finally capture him on camera. Seeing butterflies so obligingly posing was another plus.
    An amazing and wonderful selection of Spring which I thoroughly enjoyed, along with the melodic addition of poetry choices to your Spring Song :)

  30. holdingmoments

    Thank you Keith, I was surprised the woodpeckers didn't spot me but I did creep up very carefully and in a round about way. I didn't have long at all to capture the Treecreeper so was particularly pleased and quite surprised that I got it in focus :)


    Thank you for your very generous comments Glo :) It was a great surprise to find the second Woodpecker in the photos! I was very lucky with the wagtail and fly, just a shame I couldn't get closer.
    Yes, the Stoats did indeed feature in The Wind in the Willows.
    I was really pleased to get a decent photo of the Treecreeper particularly as I had to be very quick before it disappeared around the other side of the tree :)

  31. I enjoy seeing the variety that you have in your posts...whether it's flora or fauna. Spring is indeed beautiful in colder climes.

    I saw the treecreeper on another blog recently. Before that I'd never heard of it. glad you got the pictures! I also like the shots of the Yellow Wagtail and the Orange Tip.

    Looking forward to all your Spring posts!:)

  32. amazing scenes snapped up from the nature around you!! Im loving that shot of the insect becoming the attention of wagtail...great capture of life in the wilds...Also is the stoat what we call a feret? Looks very similar, I know they are great hunters. Such a lovely post chock full of wonderful photography!!!!

  33. Dear Jan,
    Such an incredible post. I love seeing your birds... so many amazing ones this time too. The tree Creeper is a difficult bird to photograph and you took some great pictures.
    I also am so happy to see your wild flowers. my favorite of all the flowers....but i am head over heels in love with the orange tip butterfly.
    she is gorgeous...
    Happy happy Spring....
    Thank you for taking us on your walk abouts....

  34. kanak7

    Thank you Kanak, Spring is lovely here this year and the weather has been exceptional, such a treat after the hard Winter we had :)


    Thank you Sondra, no the Stoat is not the same as the Ferret but is exactly the same as your Short-tailed Weasel. I only know that because Ginny (one of your fellow Americans) told me :)


    Thank you Sherry, yes, the Treecreeper is difficult, it moves so quickly :)
    The Orange Tip is a lovely butterfly and they seem to be everywhere at the moment which is nice.
    A very happy Spring to you too and I hope you are having a lovely Easter.

  35. Hi Jan, what a lovely spring post.

    Credit to you for capturing images of some of our most illusive wildlife. I speak of the green woodpecker, stoat and treecreeper.
    I have all three in the garden at one time or another but getting photographs is always so difficult.

    Isn't it lovely to see the wildflowers. I love the bank of primroses.......they are such a pretty colour, soft and easy on the eye.

    I really would like to have some rain. The rivers locally are at very low levels and I am concerned about the wildlife that inhabit them.

    Hope you enjoyed the wedding....
    have a good weekend.

  36. What a lovely selection of photos. Wonderful shots of the woodpeckers. I envy you having flowers in bloom.

  37. I've never seen a Muntjac Deer. What a cute little thing. He looks tiny! Our Brown Creepers are difficult to photograph, and I imagine your are too. You have some fantastic captures of them!

  38. Cheryl

    Thank you Cheryl and so sorry for the late reply!
    I was so pleased to capture some of the more elusive wildlife, how lovely that you have three of them in your garden, even if you don't manage to photograph them it is a testament to your wildlife gardening skills that they are there at all!
    I too love the wildflowers but have noticed how very tired some of them are looking, although it pains me to say it, we really do need some rain, I don't think I have ever known it so dry so early in the year.
    Have a wonderful wekend :)


    Thank you OC and belated happy birthday wishes to you :)
    The wildflowers are beautiful and so colourful but do need some rain!


    Thank you Kelly. The Muntjac are very small, less than two feet tall!
    Yes, the Tree Creepers are difficult to photograph, I had to be very quick and was amazed the photos were in focus :)

  39. Hi ShySongbird! Thank you for finding my blog so I could follow you back here! What lovely photos of all things nature you have here!!! I will certainly enjoy following you! I see several familiar faces in your comments so I know I'm amongst good company! Sorry it took me so long to connect with you!

    I laughed at your prickly pear story of them jumping at you. I swear, it's impossible to go near them without picking up a few tiny, irritating spines!

  40. texwisgirl

    Welcome! Thank you for visiting, commenting and following. Yes, I think we have quite a few Blogland friends in common :)
    Those Prickly Pears are scary! When I was a child we definitely thought my brother's had it in for us and you have obviously noticed it too :)

  41. birds are beautiful and funny, and other animals of his adorable, beautiful photo, I am very glad to see it, let us all together same time maintaining the balance of nature, for all sustainable. because your blog is very beautiful, I am pleased with you.

  42. pleasure amazing place

    Welcome! Thank you for visiting, commenting and following :)
    Nature is wonderful and gives so many people including myself an enormous amount of pleasure.


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