I saw the hole behind this starling when I was watching the other day and thought at the time I hadn't noticed it before. Then the next time I was watching a face appeared.
And look who was inside.
I reckon he must have started excavating the hole last weekend while I was away and got far enough to disappear inside before I noticed. It looks as though he (or perhaps another bird) made a start lower down the tree and then gave up.
When I watched the next morning he was hard at work. You can see the tip of his tail in this view from my front door.
Once he has loosened the wood he has to get rid of all the chips so he throws them out of the entrance.
To carry on working he has to make a slightly precarious and rather inelegant about turn
before climbing back in again.
His tree is right next to the starling's tree (2m away) and is less than 20m from my front door but he doesn't seem to mind my comings and goings.
So far I have seen only the male woodpecker in or near the hole although I have seen him with a female on the feeders outside the kitchen window. It is interesting that he stays in the hole overnight, whereas birds building in nest boxes don't roost overnight until egg-laying begins. I think this is perhaps to prevent the hole being taken over by another bird as he is certainly having to defend it vigorously from starlings in the daytime. He seems to tolerate the starlings in the next tree but isn't keen on any others coming close.
What with the tree sparrows, the starlings and now the woodpecker I'm now wary of going outside in case I disturb them. Oh, and the other good news is that the starling has attracted a mate - that's her above the woodpecker and he is to the right. I think you can expect more woodpecker posts in coming days.