Preening before bedtime

As the last direct sun rays fell behind the hills opposite, the light reduced sharply. I had tried to get a blip in the garden with just a minute or two to spare, but there was little action or tantalising subject.

I walked up the steps from the patio to the house, and then saw this great spotted woodpecker fly up into the garden from the valley and onto this tree. With a few seconds there was the sound of beak slamming into the tree trunk which made me smile. I swung my camera up towards the top of the hugest branches and watched it.

After a couple of minutes the rat-a-tat ceased and the woodpecker hopped about as if looking for insects on the bark. It looked down at me, I thought, (and confirmed by seeing it in do so in one of my pictures) and then puffed out its feathers and proceeded to preen itself in quite contorted shapes. Here it has just finished and within a few more seconds it flew off to another nearby tree just for a few more seconds before flying back into the valley.

I went into the house with a smile on my face. I love to be able to see such sights. I put the kettle on for a cup of tea and returned to look out at the garden and there was a woodpecker on the suet feeder guzzling away. We do have at least two great spotted woodies so I don't know if it was the same one but at least it will have warming food for the night.

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