"Why is it lesser spotted, lesser spotted than what?" asked the passing dog-walker. He was intrigued why we were staring up into the trees adjacent to a car park in Hertfordshire at 7am, watching a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker doing its spring thing. I was finding it quite hard to explain that it didn't have less spots; it was lesser in size that its greater spotted and much more common relative. The number of spots has nothing to do with it, I explained. It was too early for this, so I didn't bother going into the fact that it wasn't really spotted, more barred, but the dog-walker walked away looking confused anyway.
Sadly the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is indeed spotted less, suffering a recent rapid decline in numbers in the UK. One observer noted that it was odd to see so many people arriving to see a bird that used to be relatively common.
This one, a superb male bird, was very active, returning frequently to one of two drumming posts, with the hope of drumming up interest from a female.
Thanks for looking.