Today I went into Ferniehurst Dell playing Ingress and heard lots of wildlife, the most exciting of which was Great Spotted Woodpecker. I could hear the rapid chirp of juveniles so I went home to get my camera.

Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker

With the noise that they make it is easy to find the tree but it can take a few seconds to find exactly where the nest is. This juvenile was helpful in being both noisy and showy.

If you want to see the nest go into the Dell from Baildon Road, follow the path and then when you can take the left turn and go up towards Baildon Wood Court. The path bends to the left and in front of you, on the right of the path, are  a couple of trees. As you come out from under leaves look up at the trees. You should be able to see several nest holes but you need to tilt your head back. A photo below shows more of the tree so you might recognise it.

Female Great Spotted Woodpecker

The adults can be very wary and have a knack of hiding themselves around the back of trees and branches. I had come prepared though. I set my camera up on a tripod with it slightly hidden from view by foliage. I then used my phone to see what the camera was looking at and perked on my own tripod, a 3 leg camping stool, out of sight of the nest and birds on the tree. (Mine chair is different to the one linked to, mine doesn’t have enlarged feet so it easily sinks into the ground and the seat is now ripping.)

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Quite soon the adults came to feed the juvenile(s). The first to show was the male. You can identify the male because he doesn’t have a red patch on the back of his head.

Male feeding juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker

The female, with the red patch on the back of her neck, also came along with plenty of food. Notice that the juvenile has a red patch on the top of its head.

Male and juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker

We had about 30 or 40 minutes when not much was happening at the nest because a rather noisy petrol mower and leave blower were brought in. The adults kept out of the way and the juvenile(s) kept their heads inside the nest.

Male Great Spotted Woodpecker

After the workers had gone the female spent a while moving up and down the tree and seemed to be peering into some of the other holes that had been nests in the past.

Tree with Great Spotted Woodpecker nests and juvenile

You can see several holes with the currently occupied on at the bottom. Below the branch that you can see at the bottom right corner of the photo was another sheltered hole. This was being used by Blue Tits but it was too sheltered for me to get any photos of adults flying in, they were just too quick.

If I get time I will head back to Shipley Glen to see how the Great Spotted Woodpeckers I wrote about before are doing.

As usual the photos are in an album on Flickr. Click on any of the images to see them larger on Flickr or view the album.

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  1. I heard the woodpecker just yesterday while I was out with the dog. Just through pure speculation I googled whether a woodpecker had be recorded in the Dell. And here I am!

    I went down this evening (without the dog) with my binoculars and tried to locate the nest holes you describe in this post. I thought this would be a good lace to start looking for it (somewhat new to birding so any pointers are gratefully received).

    I have to confess I came up short and couldn’t find them (I’m shoddy at following directions).

    Just wondering if you could help me in this regard? Do I have to go up the steps to wood court? Any help you can give would be amazing.

    Many thanks,


    1. The nest I took photos of was on the right of the path up to Wood Ct.

      I zero in on them by listening for the incessant chip, chip, chip of the young.

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