Saturday, 23 February 2008

Deep Hayes Country Park

The next month or so is the best time of year to look for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. So we're told anyway. These days, however, in Staffordshire they're about as common as hen's teeth. There's more chance of a Turkey winning Eurovision than seeing one. Which reminds me, I must find something on RTE's website tomorrow.

The most reliable place in the county that I know of has been the Seven Springs area of the chase, but even there I haven't seen one for the last few years. In fact, I've only seen this species three times. Amazingly, my first years ago, was in the back garden back home in Burton. I'm certainly the reason was the tree felling that was going on at Branston Golf Club at the time.

So over the next few weeks I'm going to try some other places. The first site that I tried today, being Deep Hayes Country Park, between Leek and Stoke.

I've never been here before but I got quite an impressive total of species, 34. All the riverside woodland certainly looks a likely spot for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Plenty of Alder, Oak and Birch. I found:

16 Goosander
1 Willow Tit
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Little Grebe
1 flyover Cormorant
1 Fieldfare
Song Thrush
Green Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker

But no Lesser Pecker! Anyway, here's what Deep Hayes looks like.

Only two small lakes here like this one, so 16 Guzzunder was quite an impressive number.

Riverine woodland.

There's also a small hide overlooking a feeding station. This was where the Willow Tit was.

Perhaps an early start would give me a better chance, or perhaps there are just none around. I could pay early morning visits to both here and Greenway Bank Country Park on my way to work. Unless someone out there knows where to find them? If so, please let me know, it would be much appreciated!

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