Pierrepont Farm in Surrey boasts a wonderful educational bird hide nestled amongst the beautiful mature, predominantly beech and birch, broadleaf woodlands surrounding the Old Dairy. Dedicated CRT volunteer and passionate ornithologist Chris Smith manned the hide throughout the recent three-day Crafts in the Courtyard event and, with binoculars provided, some of our family visitors were treated to tantalising glimpses of the diminutive and shy lesser spotted woodpecker

Photo © Janet Sharp

About the size of a house sparrow, the lesser spotted (Dryobates minor) is the smallest and rarest of the three species of woodpecker resident in the UK, with populations estimated to have fallen by 83 per cent since 1970. Males differ to females in sporting a bright red cap on the crown of their head and typically breed and forage for insects higher up in trees compared to their more conspicuous larger cousin the great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major). During the breeding season, both species ‘drum’ on wood to establish territories and ward off would-be rivals.

Pierrepont Farm bird hide was kindly donated by The D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and Shield Security and built by the late ornithologist Mark Harris in November 2018. It routinely forms part of the CRT’s Mosaic educational experiences offered to local primary school aged children. 

By Nick Dobbs, Friendship Development Manager