Since my parents decided to set up several bird feeders and boxes, the sight of birds around the garden is now a regular occurrence. When looking out, I mainly see blue tits and great tits, which tend to be bullied by the chaffinches and other smaller birds to get first dibs, while the unlucky ones must potter idly about biding their time. However, a couple of times throughout the day, if I am lucky enough, the opportunistic feeders flee as they are dwarfed and humbled by the much larger male and female great spotted woodpeckers.

There are only three types of woodpecker which breed in the UK: the lesser, the great spotted and the green woodpecker. The two spotted varieties are easily distinguishable: the great spotted woodpecker has a patch of red under its tail and as its names suggests, it is much larger, about the size of a starling, while the lesser is around the size of a greenfinch.

food. One of the most distinctive features of the woodpecker is their rapid drilling of trees. This might conjure up images of a brain rattling to and fro inside its head, leading to a rather unpleasant headache. However, this is not the case. These birds have evolved so that the stresses that occur when the bird is drilling go straight to the centre of the brain, acting like a shock absorber.

Great Spotted Woodpecker©Amy Lewis

Male and female great spotted woodpeckers can be identified by the former having a red patch on their head, while the latter does not. Juveniles are much smaller and have a red patch until

the autumn, when this is replaced through moulting to black.

The tongue of the woodpecker is especially sticky. This is used when delving into insects’ nests embedded deep within the bark, to scoop out their preferred

Woodpeckers are widespread, ranging from Britain to Japan. Surprisingly though, they are not found in the north of Scotland and have only recently started to colonise Ireland. They can be seen all year round in the UK but you’re more likely to see them at bird feeders in autumn and winter. This is due to their spring and summer food of grubs being less widely available. They are mainly seen in woodland, although this does not mean they can’t be seen in isolated areas if there is a tree, armoured in dead wood and full of grubs.

For more information or to join the trust:

Ken and Lynda Dinneen are Lapidary Artists and Rock Hounds Ken is a Lapidary, Lynda has taught Jewellery Design, Silversmithing, and Lapidary Art, as well leading many mining and

Rock Hounding tours in and around the western United States. Ken and Lynda work from their studio on the east flank of the Central Oregon Cascade Mountains in Sisters, Oregon.

Here we go!

Listen up Mum and Dad, here is your chance to inspire your young (4-11years) ones... and I might add, that it may become addictive for you as well. I’m referring to the Jurassic Rangers, a group that you can join on your child’s behalf for about £30.00

Right away your Ranger will receive:

Yea, Baby!

• A ‘Go Jurassic!’ Ammonite t-shirt in green or blue • A Ranger’s Badge

• A Ranger’s Passport to complete, as they explore the coast and attend Rangers’ events

• A newsletter in the post every two months, written by our Jurassic Coast experts

• An amazing new dinosaur poster every two months, drawn by a local artist • A set of six Jurassic Coast Fact Cards

How might you become addicted to such a group? By planning a family trip to England’s only World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast, for hunting and gathering, family style! Playing along the shore, hands


along 95 breathtakingly beautiful miles, from East Devon to Dorset in Southern England. Perfect holiday location if you ask me! Check out the image of London author Tracy Chevalier with a rock pick about to split a piece of shale... not a frown in sight!

Tracy Chevalier splitting shale

dripping with mud and muck and finding a perfect treasure... days of childhood revisited, office

and work stress falling away in buckets and laughter, real out loud kind of laughing. How healing is that?

All I’m saying is that in this: “Hurry-up!” and:

“Always-pushing-a-deadline” sort of world, you may need to push back against this sort of thinking and for sure, a day out playing in the dirt will do that for you in spades! Pun intended!

One more ‘quick’ aside: The Jurassic Coast, located

In 2001, this amazing resource was named a World Heritage Site and for those of you that have not been or have not been in donkey’s years... why not go.

The fossils along the English Channel here are plentiful but it

does take practice and patience to find a great specimen. You can join a fossil walk from Charmouth Heritage Coast Center, or Lyme Regis Museum. That is a super way to get started.

Now of course, with small fossils, I find clients love to turn these finds into pendants set in sterling silver. They make lovely necklaces, or cufflinks, belt buckles, tie-tacks, even rings. What a lovely souvenir!

Until next time - Happy Hounding! Lynda Dinneen ISSUE 424 | 22 MARCH 2018 | 28

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