A blue woodpecker?

As I sat working at my laptop in the garden I hear a surprising tapping and hammering noise – just like a quiet, slower speed woodpecker! I look up into the apple tree, yet to conceal many of it’s branches with spring leaves, in the hope of seeing a woodpecker, but all I see is a small flash of blue and yellow!

Of course, it isn’t a woodpecker – it’s one of our friendly blue-tits! And although it currently sounds like a mini-woodpecker as it pecks around the edges of the hole, this is apparently is entirely normal. (And yes, we did get the hole size right!)

Many thoughts exist as to why they do this, the most common seems to think it’s either a carried-over instinct from nesting in natural holes in woodland trees. As in these they do have to enlarge the hole to make it the right size. Or alternatively it may be a way of marking their territory and saying “this nest site is mine!”

Typically of course, the nest box that they chose wasn’t either the one we got initial footage from. Nor is it easy to get images from, being high up in an old elm tree. So although we did manage to get the video camera up there briefly, courtesy of a longer pole and a neighbouring branch, it wasn’t a very stable location and they weren’t very co-operative in their timing either!)

But it was one of the two boxes they initially were keen on and the good news is we’ve seen what we hope is a pair flying regularly in and out of the nest box as well as nibbling at it to “make it their own”.

Either way, it’s lovely to see that they’ve settled in one of our boxes, even if it is the one that will be most challenging to get decent photos of them near! Fingers crossed we will soon be hearing the quiet tweetling of small chicks soon!