Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Woodpecker Anvil with Cones

Some woodpeckers use "anvils" (aka "smithys" or "workshops") where they work upon awkward or hard food items. This photo, from Hungary, shows an anvil (simply a crevice between two tree trunks) where a Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major has wedged two pine-cones. The cone seeds can be easily extracted in this way. Such anvils are regularly used and piles of cones are often found below on the ground. Woodpeckers fly with cones to anvils, wedge them, tip upwards, and work them systematically, turning them around in order to open upon the scales around the whole cone. Cone scales are prised open sideways to get at the seeds. This causes the distinct ruffled appearance. Cones are not damaged on the base of the cone, where they are wedged into anvils and where the scales are also tighter. It has been calculated that it takes a Great Spotted Woodpecker around four minutes to empty a cone of its seeds and in this time the cone can be pecked some 800 times.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Collared Dove footprints

Footprints of a Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto in light snow on a balcony in Budapest, Hungary. February 2009.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Hooded Crow tracks

Prints made by the feet and wings of a Hooded Crow Corvus cornix in snow: Budapest, February 2009. It is often difficult to assign such tracks to exact species unless the species is actually observed, as was the case here. 

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Wren Nest

Nest of a Wren Troglodytes troglodytes in a barn in South Yorkshire, UK. Photo by Dean Stables.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Woodpecker Holes in Wooden Door

This photo shows two holes made by a Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major in a wooden cabin door near Lake Balaton, Hungary (December 2008).

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Puss Moth Cocoon

The caterpillars of the Puss Moth Cerura vinula cocoon themselves on tree trunks and wooden fenceposts etc. The cocoon is created from a combination of labial silk & chewed up fragments of whatever they choose to pupate on. They can be hard to spot as they are thus the same colour as the bark or wood that they have scraped and then lie on. This photo was taken by Dean Stables in South Yorkshire, UK, in January 2009.