Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Today was the 90th anniversary of the end of the first World War, it was also the 96th anniversary of the birth of Irene Buttress (1912-1999), who became Irene Morris in 1939.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

from For the Fallen by Laurenc Binyon

Pied Wagtail, male

I went to the Bay today hoping to see some Rock Pipits, Jack had seen a greyish individual earlier and I had hoped to find it. I didn't find any Pipits, but I did watch this pair of Pied Wagtails. The male, I think it was an adult, was much blacker than the female. Above it looks as if it is practising to Cha-cha-cha.

Pied Wagtail, male

I liked this angle, the beak disappears and it has a strange facial expression.

Pied Wagtail, male

It sat and had a good preen, showing off all its feathers as it meticulously put them straight.

Pied Wagtail, male

In this picture the back does look a bit patchy, which made me wonder if it's a first winter bird, but I think that it would be even paler if it was.

Pied Wagtail, female

The female, which I think is a first winter, is much greyer and could almost be mistaken for a White Wagtail.
Pied Wagtail, female

White Wagtails are Motacilla alba alba, and they breed all over Europe. Being the closest part of Britain to the mainland Europe we get a good number that cross the Channel for a look, during their migration. The Pied Wagatail is Motacilla alba yarrelli and this sub-species breeds in Britain and Ireland. There are various other sub-species from Asia, some of which are split as species by some authorities. The whole "complex" is an example of evolution in process.

1 comment:

Steve Gale said...

A dignified Remembrance opening to the post Tony. I'm glad that some of us do not forget.