Off to the RSPB website.
The Lesser spotted does have a red head and black and white body, but the RSPB site notes that it is the “least common of the three woodpeckers” in the UK, so it seems an unlikely identification. Also, the one we saw had a longer beak that this:
|Lesser spotted woodpecker|
So maybe not. The site says three woodpeckers. I know of the Lesser and Great spotted, but what’s the third? The RSPB site tells me it is the Green woodpecker:
Red head: check. Long beak: check. Black and white body: nope. It definitely wasn’t that green. But scrolling through the pictures on that page reveals the juvenile Green:
|juvenile Green woodpecker, in a strangely semitransparent picture|
Okay, that’s got more black and white markings, but it’s still seems rather too green. But, maybe: it was only a short obscured glimpse.
I checked out the Great spotted, just for completeness.
|Great spotted woodpecker|
No red head, so definitely not. But scrolling through the pictures on that page yielded:
|juvenile Great spotted woodpecker|
Red head: check. Long beak: check. Black and white body: check. Okay, so I now, even more confidently, identify what we saw as a juvenile Great spotted woodpecker.
And being a juvenile explains why it was trying the bird feeder: it knew no better.