The Woodpecker Network


The photographs show how a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker’s nest hole in Kent was taken over by a Great Spot.

Martin Garwood tells the story of the hole
‘In mid-March I found a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker excavating a nest hole in a dead Alder close to a pond and stream. I watched it over the next three weeks and by 10 April the bird was getting inside to excavate so it looked almost done.'

LSW excavating MGLSW excavating its nest hole

LSW hole MGLSW hole about 30mm diameter













'The following day I popped over to see what was happening just in time to find Great Spot there widening the hole.’  

GSW at hole MGGreat Spot at the hole

GSW excavating MGGSW enlarging the hole













GSW hole MGHole enlarged to ~50mm diameter

It was always a bit of an obvious spot on a very exposed part of the tree and I suppose it is better that the Great Spot raided now rather than later when the chicks are there for the taking.’

‘The good news is that on 17 April the male Lesser Spot was watched excavating another hole in the same area.'

’My hunch is that like many other birds they may excavate a number of holes and then the female chooses what suits her needs best.’

This is a set back for the Lesser Spots, they have used up time and energy making the first excavation and have had to start again. Earlier nests are usually more productive. But there is still time for them.

Lesser Spots normally lay their first egg towards the end of April. However last year, 2018, in one very late nest monitored the first egg was laid about 15th May and the young fledged on 21 June. 

Please let us know if you find a nest so it can be monitored to gain more understanding of Lesser Spots and their needs.

Many thanks to Martin Garwood for superb observations and photographs.

LSW RichardJacobs leftcolLesser Spotted Woodpecker by Richard Jacobs 2019 LSW TimPreston 256Lesser Spotted Woodpecker © Tim Preston

Don't confuse juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers with male Lesser Spots - they both have red caps!

Dont confuse your woodpeckers

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