White-backed Woodpecker?

White-backed Woodpecker?

Whenever I’m alone in the bush, there are several species of birds and animals which always keep me company – the Raven and Lesser Spotted Eagle fly above the trees making their calls (sometimes the eagle flies through the forest and its wing beats send whooshing sounds through the leaves), woodpeckers knock on trees, Jays scream at each other and Red Squirrels jump about playing with their nuts. And of course there are plenty of little tits….

When I was a kid back in England, the sounds were different, with the Wood Pigeon and the Pheasant being the dominant noise makers.

In the area around my house we get multiple species of woodpeckers, and most are easy to identify – the Green, the Grey, the Black, the Lesser Spotted – but there are other species which could be one of several. The woodpecker pictured here is, I believe, a White-backed (Dendrocopos leucotos) as it misses the vertical stripes seen in other species, such as the Greater. Then again, it might not be. If anyone can clear up this matter I would appreciate it.

Storks in nest

Storks in nest

For me, there are four signs that Spring has truyly arrived, two of which I witnessed today, and all are from birds. The return of the storks, house martins, cuckoos and golden orioles means that summer is not far distant. Today I saw a couple of European white storks (Ciconia ciconia) preparing their nest and I heard the first golden oriole of the year somewhere in the trees at the bottom of my garden.

I’m lucky that the first stork i saw this year was last week and it was flying overhead as, according to tradition and superstition, seeing your first stork as it sits in its nest means that you’ll have a baby.