They’ve been around all summer, I’ve caught the odd flash in the trees and of course I’ve heard them, but I haven’t caught them feeding on the peanuts. I’d seen signs that they may have been, telltale pecks in the red-brown kernels, a scattering of papery skin on the ground. Of course it could have been any bird, but I had a feeling it was a woodpecker.
I got up really early Sunday morning. Well, it wasn’t so much getting up, more a washing, cleaning teeth, and getting dressed. I had one of my sleepless ones - I’ve been having a few lately, and I was up and about at first light.
The early morning air was dry but with an autumn dampness, it felt as if rain would come later (and it did, gallons of it, for hours on end). I placed a chair by the woodshed and sat as still as I could, camera in hand, waiting.
Tits, sparrows, more tits, a pair of collared doves and then without announcement it was there, a lesser spotted, feeding on the peanuts, I didn’t even see it arrive. I clicked off two pictures. The first was so blurred (my hands were shaking with excitement wanting to get a good picture) that it was useless, but the second was fine. There wasn’t time for a third, it’d gone – I didn’t see it go either.
I sat for another twenty minutes waiting for it to return, but it didn’t.
And then it started to rain.