White Arse?

Both cock (right) and hen are well camouflaged against the rough pasture.

Wheatears have been on the Chayne for almost a month now, but only in the last few days have they become really conspicuous. Courtship songs and display flights have been the order of the day, and it’s been a great opportunity to get up close and personal with these cracking little birds. They have such an entertaining little “upright” posture as they stand and bob, and it was interesting¬† to watch one feeding in the short grass yesterday – he scuttled forward to pick up a piece of something or other, then scuttled on with all the stop-start gravity of a plover.

I’ve been told that wheatears were originally called “white-arses”, but the perceived vulgarity of the name was toned down into the more acceptable name we now know them by. I quite like the name “white-arse”. It’s the first thing you see when a wheatear flies away from you, and it’s certainly more accurate than any comparison to an ear of wheat. Then again, I suppose it does them a little injustice, since they are beautiful birds and perhaps deserve to be recognised by more than just the dazzling brightness of their arses.

Here’s hoping they’ll have a good breeding season.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s