Thursday, 26 May 2016
The Grey Wagtail
I was surprised to learn from the RSPB website that the estimated UK population of grey wagtails (motacilla cinerea) is only 38,000.
I first recall noticing these birds on Sliabh Mannan several years ago. They frequent the margins of the Culloch Burn and in the summer they are well supplied with insects of various kinds. I don't actually know if they can catch midges on the wing like swallows and house martins, but if they can, good luck to them. In the winter they leave the uplands and take refuge at lower altitudes near the estuary.
Anyway I've been struggling to take a decent photograph for years. Though larger than a pied wagtail these birds are still quite small, pretty skittish and, as their name suggests, terrible at sitting still. The reach of my 75-300 Minolta lens has not really been adequate, while my photography brain is still too slow and my old fingers too arthritic to achieve wonders with my entirely manual Sigma 400 mm.
As a result I can now boast some tolerable, if grainy, stills of a grey wagtail!