Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Pee-wit, pee-wit

Another moth-free post today, but if you'll bear with me in my temporary guise of Martin's Birds, I'd like to share my pictures of our local lapwings, spotted by Penny. They aren't normally local. They live up on the moors above the Washburn Valley, where our water comes from, thanks to the foresight of Sir Nicholas Fairbairn and the Leeds city councils which built the great dams at Lindley Wood, Swinsty, Fewston and - nearly a century later - Thruscross. I remember going as a child to the church at West End on its last Sunday before the new dam's sluicegates closed and the hamlet disappeared for ever (or at least until the 1996 Great Yorkshire Drought).

The lapwings' call of 'pee-wit', which is one of their nicknames, is part of the lonely atmosphere of the moors, a plaintive cry which often goes with their ploy of pretending to have an injured wing (hence their name) and leading a potential predator away from their nest. Now we have them calling here, because when it gets too cold at home, they fly down to the warmer fleshpots of Leeds. Not that 'warm' is quite the right word, as the pictures show. I could do with that sheep's fleece - and maybe with a lapwing's crest as a male fascinator (an article of headwear which someone really should invent).


sarah meredith said...

Hi Martin - what a wonderful winter landscape - and the lapwings ( a new bird to me) look wonderful! I wish we had gotten such a good picture of the bald eagles sitting in the treetops over the Susquehanna a couple of weeks ago. xx to both

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there! Sorry to be so shockingly late in replying but as you may see from the post after this, we have been having fun on your side of the pond...

x to all,

M (and P)

MartinWainwright said...

Whoops PS - sorry signed off too soon - meant to admit much eagle jealousy. But we had good vultures slowly wheeling over Bahia de la Lunha (a must-visit in Oaxaca) and a fishing eagle which made shrill peeps.