Another Lesser - this time a 'pecker

Today was a bit of a repeat of last Tuesday with an early start, this time in the Midlands, followed by some birding en-route to home.

Male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Moore, Cheshire
Today's visit was to Moore NR and I wasn't disappointed as I immediately got on to the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker as it was excavating a hole in the forlorn hope that a female may turn up. Apparently, this male is the only one on the reserve - a similar story from Marbury a few miles south. The species has never been common in the North-west but it is declining rapidly.

Anyway, it was most obliging though a bit distant for my camera lens. A pair of Willow Tits, another seriously declining species, called nearby and this lovely Tawny Owl could just about be seen from the path.
Tawny Owl
Moore is really a lovely not-so-little nature reserve. You don't notice it's next to a huge landfill site until you walk around! The woods were full of singing birds; lots of Chiffchaffs, Nuthatches and Treecreepers as well as the usual Tits and finches.

The Birchwood Pool added a frisson of excitement as not only was there a lovely Black-necked Grebe but also, that great rarity, a male Ruddy Duck that wasn't ducking (sorry) bullets. I think that's the first I've seen for three years. Anyway, the lake also played host to Little Grebes, Gadwall, Shoveler, Goldeneye, Pochard and Tufted Duck - a very nice selection indeed. Pity the gulls insisted on circling above rather than coming down for a drink and bathe.

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