Friday, 26 April 2013

A-Z Challenge 2013 - 'W' - Wagtail

My A-Z posts this year are based on my garden – flowers, animals, the birds and the bees, butterflies - with a bit of poetry thrown in. For some letters I am expecting to cheat somewhat –wishing they were here.

W – Wagtail, Wallflower, Weigela, Woodpecker, Wood Pigeon, Wren.

It seems strange to call this fellow grey, when really he is anything but,
Grey Wagtail on dock wall at the Tees Barrage
There is no better description of the one that has visited our garden that that by John Clare. He obviously studied this bird.

Pied Wagtail
 Little trotty wagtail he went in the rain,
And tittering, tottering sideways he ne'er got straight again,
He stooped to get a worm, and looked up to get a fly,
And then he flew away ere his feathers they were dry.

Our village is in North Yorkshire so I was pleased to find a verse in dialect that ended:

Folk ‘at’s tired gits churlish
An’ starts t’ owd World’s disorders—
Ther’d be less quarrels if they grew
Wallflowers I’ their borders.

The wallflowers in our border however have set themselves; they appear every year no matter how many we pull up.

As I could not find another ‘W’ flower we grow I have had to make do with a shrub,
Weigela Bush (and Foxglove)
 I mentioned one species of woodpecker under ‘L’, but the most recent visitor is the Greater Spotted variety – a bird that moves so quickly it’s difficult to photograph. I wrote about it separately here.
Greater Spotted Woodpecker
  But the top bird in our garden and certainly the most numerous is this one in the sycamore tree.
Wood Pigeon
And in the bird bath which it thinks it owns.
Bird Bath (between Potentilla and the Rose)
Nesting in the hedge alongside the garden shed.
Nesting Wood Pigeon
Despite its presence the bird that, for its size, surprises you most with the strength of its song remains:
Jenny Wren
Small and pert she hops around
Hither and thither all over the ground
Speckled and neat her rich brown coat
Pale eyebrow and buff coloured throat
  • Little Trotty Wagtail – John Clare
  • Wallflowers – Dorothy Una Ratcliffe
  • Jenny Wren – Bumpsysmum
  • Pied Wagtail – Ken Billington – CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Wren – Ken Billington – CC BY-SA 3.0


aw said...

Pied wagtails (or Polly dishwashers as they were always known by us as children)are fun birds to watch - or so I thought until one day I watched one dispose of a butterfly, first tearing off its wings. It did explain the number of odd wings we had found around the drive that week though.
Really enjoying this mix of nature and poetry, Bob.

Jo said...

Lovely pix again, I don't think I ever knew what wallflowers looked like before. Love bird pix. We used to get a lot of wrens in North Carolina and they would nest almost anywhere.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob .. I've loved the combination of poems and verses you've used to accompany all your ABC words ... I love seeing all the plant and wildlife ..

Cheers Hilary