Great Spotted Woodpeckers at Blithfield Reservoir (26th July 2014)

After reading about various bird sightings through the Staffordshire Bird News website, I discovered a reserve I had never heard of before in the Staffordshire area. Blithfield Reservoir.

We parked up on a car park just off Newton Hurst Lane. There are three walking routes to choose from and about four bird hides. We saw plenty of butterflies, blue tits, great tits and nuthatches, but the star of the show was the king of the bird table, the great spotted woodpecker.

The great spotted woodpecker always brings back fond memories for me. I lived in Switzerland close to a forest for 6 months and decided to set up a bird feeder just outside the patio doors where I lived. It always takes a few weeks for birds to find a feeder, but after about 3 weeks I was having regular visits from blue tits, great tits, goldfinches, sparrows and greenfinches. But one day, as I was sitting on the sofa the birds quickly dispersed as a great spotted woodpecker landed on the bird feeder. I was thrilled! This woodpecker paid regular visits to the garden along with his fledgling later on in the spring. I fell in love with this bossy king of the bird feeder.

At Blithfield we spotted a family of great spotted woodpeckers from one of the bird hides. Here is how to identify a male, female and fledgling…



A female has an all black head.



A male has a red patch on the back of his head


A fledgling has an all red crown

Here is a map of the nature reserve, but you can pick one up from the Blithfield Estate Office on Waters Road. We spotted these woodpeckers on the red route from a hide (number 5 on the map).


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