Scalloway woodpecker a first for Scotland

The lesser spotted woodpecker in Scalloway on Tuesday - Photo: Hugh Harrop/Shetland Wildlife

BIRD watchers have been flocking to a garden in Scalloway to get a rare glimpse of a lesser spotted woodpecker, the first proven record of the bird not just for Shetland but for Scotland.

The bird was found by resident birdwatcher Rob Fray earlier this week. It was reported to be still around an area near the surgery on Wednesday morning.


Lesser spotted woodpeckers are the smallest and least common of the three woodpecker species resident in Britain.

Red-listed, the species is under severe threat and the UK population is limited to the southeast of England.

However, local bird watcher Hugh Harrop of Shetland Wildlife said it was unlikely that the Scalloway bird belonged to the UK population.

“The origins of this bird are unknown but it almost certainly will have come from one of the European populations rather than the sedentary UK population.

“Bird watchers as far away as Estonia and Lithuania have reported seeing large numbers of migrating lesser spotted woodpeckers over the past week and on Sunday, one was seen on the island of Utsira (the ornithological equivalent of Fair Isle) off the coast of Norway.”

He added:  “This bird constitutes the first record for Shetland and currently the first proven record for Scotland.

“A recent review of previous Scottish records saw past claims being considered unacceptable. Now that the species has occurred in the country, maybe the previous records will be assessed once again.

“A great spotted woodpecker is also in Scalloway and for bird watchers to have seen two species of ‘pied’ woodpecker in a day was unique.”

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