My usual view of the Green woodpecker (Picus viridis) is a flash of its bright red Mohawk, bright green body and bright yellow rump as it rockets rapidly away from me. They are notoriously nervous birds and, as they usually feed on wide open expanses of grass – all the better to spot the dreaded photographer trying to creep up on them, they easily spot my clumsy attempts at stalking, and fly off at the drop of an ant. So, the few photos I’d managed to get were with my long lens on full zoom, with, invariably, the bird partly obscured by branches, twigs or long grass.
Until last Friday that is…. I was enjoying a wander at Cosmeston, when, having already unsuccessfully stalked one bird, I spotted another in a different field. This time, this woodpecker was completely occupied with poking in the damp soil for ants, and I was on a footpath behind a hedge. I moved to the grassy verge, took care not to step on anything that might crack or rustle, and kept my head down. If the bird looked up, I froze until it got back to its digging. There weren’t many gaps in the hedge so I still couldn’t get very clear or very close shots but I am still ridiculously pleased to have got these couple.