Country diary: the lapwings are back, but without a warm welcome


Recently I’ve been watching six teuchits – peewits, lapwings – at the lavatory near the place I keep. They returned in late March and early April to nest; in actual fact, “teuchit storm” is an outdated Scots phrase that describes the inclement climate round that point.

First there have been three, then three pairs. They flap up and tumble and wheel in blacks and whites. Up shut the iridescence of their feathers quivers in the sunshine. All the whereas they beep and “chae-widdlewip”, typically so shut that I can hear the whoop-whoop of wind via their feathers. An outdated chook information from the late Nineteen Seventies tells me they’re considered one of the 60 commonest resident species, but now the British Trust for Ornithology tells me their conservation standing in the UK is purple.

I’m delighted to see them again. The different day I counted three up in the air, and after I scanned the lavatory, I noticed two extra, considering the sixth was hidden someplace behind a clump of reeds. The calls of some greylags distracted me, then ravens seemingly flew out of the solar from the east.

I crossed the fence heading residence and, simply past, stumbled on a mass of feathers: primaries, secondaries, “semiplumes”, and downy white wisps that whilst I watched had been caught and agitated by a fleeting breeze. Some feathers had been half white and half black, tipped with white. Others had been a smoky brown-black, some once more tipped with white, others fading to a buff-coloured oval in the direction of their ideas. Smaller ones, greenish, bluish, purplish, shimmered as I held them in my palm. Yet extra had been a sandy brown, and after I look carefully at a {photograph} of a lapwing, I see these ones would have been from its decrease again, simply earlier than its white rump and black tail with its tiniest fringe of white.

Just like that, considered one of a pair gone.

Two extra ravens prukked, and I watched them dip down into the pinewood to the north. Even although they had been half a mile away, I might hear a noisy stramash between them and one thing else, earlier than they flew again up and continued on their approach.


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