I have written before about grey wagtails – see my post from November 2013 (can it really be that long ago?) – but they are such a rarity here that I like to mark their appearances.
I only ever see grey wagtails on the neighbour’s moss-covered roof and it is usually on a clear, cold day at the beginning or end of winter. I know they spend summer in the mountains and winter at lower levels, so I always imagine I catch them just as they are passing through. Maybe they are around all the time, but only occasionally do I look out from the window at the top of the stairs and catch a glimpse.
On the latest occasion it was pure luck. The husband said there was a long-tailed tit on the roof. Well I guess he was close, long-tailed tits do have long tails, but they are pink and don’t tend to land on the roof, being of a more upright stance or dangling around a lot.
But I had a feeling I knew what he meant, so ran up the stairs to look from the landing window. I was delighted to see it was a wagtail – and not a pied wagtail, which we see every day. In America they call reckless running around on the road “jaywalking”, but I have never seen our British jays (Garrulus glandarius) do this. We should call it “pied wagtail walking”, as they are always bobbing around on our city streets.
This grey wagtail was also running around as it pecked for insects among the moss on the roof. I grabbed my Nikon D5000 camera with a 300mm zoom lens but most of the MANY pictures I took looked like this…
When it wasn’t running, it was preening…
At that moment the camera said CARD FULL. Isn’t it always the way? So I grabbed my compact Sony Cyber-shot HX50 and kept on snapping away. I love that camera! This is why I will never be a professional photographer. I don’t deserve a DSLR like the Nikon. I just cannot get to grips with focusing it. For birds it doesn’t autofocus in the right place and I can’t get it right manually when using the zoom, either. But the easy Sony never lets me down.
Anyway, that was just a quick post, and you may note I resisted the temptation to be topical and call it “50 shades of grey wagtail”!