Spotted some Great Woodpeckers

On Sunday, while out walking, I heard the unmistakable chirping chatter of a nest full of Great Spotted Woodpeckers calling for food.  After a bit of audio triangulation - that is walking round a stand of oaks I figured out where they were and located the hole.  I returned later in the afternoon with the intention of seeing if the parents were feeding and it was quite apparent they were and were not really bothered by my presence as long as I sat still.  They had chosen a rather public spot just off the junction of a couple of paths and a stream but the nest itself was a little concealed.  The feeding parade was regularly interrupted by walkers, children and dogs but there was no issue with me sat in a bush with tripod and camera.  This is a spot that really calls for very early post dawn shooting but since and probably for the rest of the week it looks like we will have overcast mornings so this might be the only chance I get for some days.  I popped off a few trial shots and here is one of the female, though the male was feeding in turns with her.

One interesting point to notes that this is not a new hole.  Indeed, it looks very much like this may have been a Nuthatch nest last year as there are telltale signs of clay/mud around the inside rim of the hole.  That’s a trick Nutchatchs use to make an old woodpecker hole smaller.  Looks like these woodpeckers have removed that to use the hole themselves.

Nikon D500 with 200-500mm lens at 500mm.  1/500s at f/5.6 and ISO 800.  Shot with some balanced HSS flash to lighten the shadows as the hole (as typical) is on the North side of the trunk.  Shooting a little after dawn will allow the early low summer light to illuminate the hole.