Lots of activity in the past few weeks, thanks everyone for your Lesser Spot sightings and news of nest excavations.
Thanks to all of you who have been out searching for Lesser Spots, it is a good time to search now, before the leaves are fully open and the fine weather has helped.
From past experience the date when the first egg is laid can be from 20 April until as late as 11 May. The birds are very secretive during the incubation period, but become more obvious when feeding young, anytime from mid-May until mid-June.
So far we have reports of birds excavating nest holes from eight sites, including in Devon, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, New Forest, Norfolk, Staffordshire and Sussex.
Pairs have been seen interacting at ten sites, including in Derbyshire, Devon, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Surrey, East Sussex and West Sussex, but the nests have not yet been found.
Lone males have been heard drumming on territory from several additional sites, but with no females in evidence. The photo shows a drumming/displaying male in Yarner, Devon. (Photo by Martin Webber)
There are some interesting stories ..............
Mating Pair - This week at our third visit to a site in Hampshire, we saw a pair mating at very promising site, damp woodland with birch and alder. It is thought that mating usually takes place at the nest tree or close by. So we will be back for another search in a few days.
Blue Tits oust Lesser Spots ! In Staffordshire, a pair excavated a nest hole, but it has been taken over by Blue Tits !!! The tits were seen taking moss into the hole and we know from past experience that Lesser Spots tend to abandon when this happens. The male LSW has started excavating a new hole a few feet away, but has had to fend off Great Spots as well as the Blue Tits.
Lonesome males. In Lincolnshire, Andy Sims reports that the male has been drumming every day for five weeks and has a nest hole in the same tree as 2015 and 2016, but no female has been seen. So that is not looking good. In the New Forest a good number of males are drumming, but very few females detected. There is speculation that shortage of females could be a problem.
Enjoy this excellent video clip on YouTube from Andrew Cutts of LSW excavating their nest hole a couple of years ago in Shropshire, you can see the male shaking out the freshly excavated wood chips.