Thursday, April 1, 2010

Great Spot!!!

Wow, what a start to a new month!! I arrived at work this morning to be greeted by Alan Fropoli, a birder down here for a long weekend from Boston; he was in quite a flap and showed me a set of pictures he had just taken in the dead trees on the corner of the CMBO Northwood Center property. There on his camera was a superb shot of a Great Spotted Woodpecker!!!! Al was unsure what the bird was and was confused by the red under the tail, which of course was all wrong for a North American woodpecker. As a Brit I knew straight away what it was - but what an unbelievable find! As Al showed me the pictures, we heard a loud 'chip' call and we quickly re-found the bird at the bird observatory feeders. Unfortunately, it flew off across Lighthouse Avenue, but we'll get news out immediately should it re-appear.

Great Spotted Woodpecker might seem an unlikely bird to turn up, but this species is a common Scandinavian migrant which regularly winters further south in Europe and, in recent years, has just colonised Ireland for the first time. With a massive movement of birds west from Ireland last fall, it seems likely that this bird got caught up in that movement and, with the amazing weather predicted by David LaPuma (how does he do it?!!) has perhaps been pushed ever further southward this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Only problem for me as the 'new kid on the block' is explaining it the locals - or re-finding it!! More news as it comes in - stay tuned!

Great Spotted Woodpecker at the Northwood Center. Note the rich red undertail coverts and large, oval, white shoulder patch. [Photo by Al Fropoli]

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