Welcome to my blog. If you live in Surrey and birding is your obsession (to get out of bed at some ridiculously early time of the morning, no matter what the weather, to go and look at birds isn't normal behaviour, believe me) and you're still a bit of a novice (like me) then, hopefully, this blog is for you.

Wednesday 14 April 2010


After a grey start, the late afternoon on Wednesday turned out to be glorious with bright sunshine and clear air, so taking a walk around the Holmethorpe patch was too much to resist. I bumped into Graham James and Gordon Hay, who both had the same idea as me. We walked around The Moors and then after I went back for my car, we met up again at Spynes Mere.

These two blokes are really experienced birders and always helpful. I also find it reassuring that they also have the same problems as me.

The previous evening I had been walking around The Moors looking for White Wagtails. Everywhere else seems to have them, but wherever I go, they decide not to make an appearance. Only this time I thought I saw one - only I hadn't. White Wagtails are grey on their back, rump and crowns while Pied Wagtails are black, but then a look at the bird books only made it more confusing. It transpires that female Pied Wagtails can also have grey on their backs and tails too. So, how are you supposed to be able to tell the difference?

As it turned out both Graham and Gordon were looking for 'White Wags' when I met up with them, and they were having the same problems. Apparently, the Whites are almost silver grey and it's a case of when you see one you know it is a White Wagtail. So, for the moment, we haven't seen one.

The other Wagtail that was proving elusive at Holmethorpe was the Yellow Wagtail. We have the perfect habitat for them here but they just don't appear to be that impressed with it as yet. But then just as we had nearly finished our walk as the sun was setting, Gordon shouted out 'Yellow Wag!'

Both Gordon and Graham were on to it like a shot as it flashed past. I got a glimpse of it, but if Gordon hadn't shouted out I wouldn't have seen or even noticed it, to be honest.

So, there we are, my first Yellow Wagtail, apparently...

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