I was sorting out some files of photos from earlier this year, and found this one from late February - a fine chap indeed. A young male Greater Spotted Woodpecker, busy with the suet balls, getting himself into condition after a hard Winter.
We are very lucky to be able to watch a decent range of wildlife here - nothing truly exotic, but good by British standards. We have always had a family of woodpeckers around, ever since I came here - they are great characters, though very nervous of humans (as, of course, am I). This Spring we have had some birds we haven't seen before - Nuthatch and Siskin, for example - quite rare in Scotland normally. Must be the climate change, I guess.
We also get the occasional deer in the garden, and loads and loads of pheasants - the pheasants are bred here for the shooting. I'm really not a big fan of the shooting, though I'll eat the things if someone else shoots them. I'd rather leave them in peace and take pictures.
About 3/4 of a mile offshore - directly opposite our beach - is the Bass Rock, which is the chief breeding ground for Gannets in Northern Europe - there are about 1/3 of a million of them on the rock in midsummer. Strangely, they never come ashore - in 10 years, I've never seen one on land, apart from the occasional storm victim washed up on the beach. Only 3/4 of a mile away, but it could be a completely separate planet.
And, speaking of separate planets, I must make mention that I'm a little fed up today - I have recently read on Sam Mustafa's Honour website that the development of Blucher, which is expected to be the mummy and daddy of all grand tactical Napoleonic wargames, appears to have been abandoned - at least for the time being. Mustafa (I am quite a fan) makes an unusually full account of why, which is worth a read, but the main message is not good. It seems that development of such a game is not straightforward, after all. Let's see what happens.