The Case of the dishevelled Green Woodpecker and the Goshawk

August 11, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Back in the days when I was learning about digital photography, when all my images were extremely poor and my keeper rate was around 1%, I was hiding away, as one does in ones hide, which I had positioned strategically and discretely in a small forest on a hillside a few miles outside the old mining valley village of Cwm, South Wales. NuthatchNuthatchCwm forest woodland

That day I was hoping to capture some images of nuthatches, tits and various other small woodland birds.  I recall plenty of them being about, I just had to lure them in to attempt to get some images.  Thought limited... I did have  some success - mainly due to the fact that this was Coal TitCoal TitCwm forest woodland
one of my first forest forays with my newly acquired digital camera, and also due to my total lack of experience with using it.

I was very pleased at the time with some of the images I captured, though of course looking back at them now they really are not that good at all, with most of them being record shots at best. However, being well intentioned, I wanted to post a few of the actual photographs I took that day.

I was pleased to capture my first images of many woodland species including nuthatches, greater spotted woodpeckers, chaffinches, thrushes, coal and marsh tits. Greater Spotted WoodpeckerGreater Spotted WoodpeckerCwm forest woodland

All of them taken not really knowing what ISO was, with an extremely slow lens, a camera not the best in low light, in dark woodland conditions. Ah well...

However, what I wasn't to know though, was that as mother Gump once said, you never know quite what you're going to get.  As I was sat in my hide snapping away, everything went quiet.  All the birdsong and singing stopped, noticeably abruptly.  I heard a commotion behind me, and typically there are no rear viewing holes in my particular pop-up hide, so couldn't quickly see what the fuss and noise was all about.

It was quite the fracas!

Not wanting to frighten whatever was the cause of the noise, I slowly slipped under the entrance to my hide, and without even thinking of putting the camera up to my face as a just-in-case for that one shot we all strive for, I saw what the fuss was about.

A Goshawk spotted me, immediately flew off through the trees in the opposite direction, and in the process of disappearing had inadvertently (due to my presence I would imagine) released the prey it was clutching and no doubt about to tear to shreds, from its talons. Green WoodpeckerGreen Woodpeckerhttps://www.reflectingme.uk/blog/2019/8/the-dishevelled-green-woodpecker
Cwm forest woodland

Though the poor thing was shrieking and skwalking loudly, I didn't spot any bloody injuries, just a rather dishevelled, extremely bewildered and rather fortunate Green Woodpecker, who after shaking itself vigorously for a few seconds quickly shuffled off to the relative safety of the longer grass and brambles.

I watched it disappear, further shaking itself of the forest water and mud it had all over it following the short fight with the Goshawk, and quickly making haste to a safer location.

As quickly as it happened, that was it.  Peace and tranquility resumed, within seconds the singing commenced, and everything seemed to lower the state of alert.

I learned a good lesson that day: when out birding, or taking any photographs, know your gear inside out and always be on the ready with at least a 'quick-set-mode' available on your camera that you are able to access very quickly to get the shot at a moments notice. 
NuthatchNuthatchCwm forest woodland


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