Hitting the right spot

I finally got round to signing up for the BTO Garden Birdwatch , so my weekly garden sightings are now uploaded online.  At least one Great Spotted Woodpecker visits the garden pretty much every day, but I hadn’t appreciated it wasn’t always the same one, and I finally got to sort out adults and juveniles and Great and Lesser Spotteds.

So now I know Great Spotted Woodpeckers have distinctive white ‘oval’ bars either side of the plain black back (which look more oval when in flight).  They also have a red undertail.


The male has a red splodge on the nape of his neck.


Plain black back outlined by two white wing ovals – Great Spotted. Red splodge on nape – male.


The female has no red on the head.


Juvenile GSWs have a red cap rather than a splodge at the nape.

Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers could be mistaken for a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, as they have a red cap too, but this bird quite clearly has ‘the white wing ovals’ and the plain black back, rather than the distinctive white ladder rungs on the back of the Lesser Spotted.

To do today:

Check out ovarian cancer symptoms here.

  • Each year around 7,000 UK women, like me, will find out they have ovarian cancer.*
  • 57% of them will die within 5 years because early detection is difficult. **
  • We need to know more about cancer and sooner.  You can donate to Cancer Research UK through my JustGiving page.


 Extracts from National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

“Delayed presentation coupled with a lack of awareness around the possible symptoms, unfortunately mean that far too many women are being referred to hospitals for suspected ovarian cancer once their disease is already at an advanced stage. This is frustrating as the stage of the disease at its diagnosis is crucial in determining which treatments can then be offered.

 “Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose from the symptoms alone. It is important for GPs to remember that irritable bowel syndrome rarely presents for the first time in women over fifty. Conversely, most ovarian cancers present in women over the age of fifty. Recurrent or prolonged symptoms require a diagnosis at any age.”

 “Having been through repeated courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for ovarian cancer, I know how important it is for women to receive an early diagnosis. The symptoms can be confusing – I found that I was eating much less as I felt full very quickly during meals but instead of losing weight, I constantly felt bloated and in pain. It’s very easy for women to put their bodies on a backburner as they deal with busy family and working lives, but they should never ignore the possible symptoms.

“If the symptoms have been present for some time, women should go to see their GP and ask for the blood test. This will either help identify the cause early on, or give women the reassurance they may need.”

* http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/types/ovary/incidence/