Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Bird, Black and White


Lapwings are a black and white bird,

Wings out

or at least I thought so, till this week when I took a closer look

look this way

The first glance black and white, belies an iridescent palette of oil on water colours. Lapwings, or peewits as they are sometimes called, because of the cry they make (listen and watch here) like a habitat of rough, unimproved, broken pasture, around here it is usually bordering on open moorland, where they neighbour with curlews (curlews coming soon, to this blog; I hope.)

On the ground they were surprisingly well camouflaged

Lapwing 1

The longer I looked the more I could see,

Banked turn

and I’m impressed with the feat of origami that  allows the sweeping long wing tip  feathers to fold up so neatly, when not in use


Flight 1

Their flight is wonderful to watch* especially at this time of year, with lots of barrel rolls and swooping turns

Flight 2

I was so engrossed that I just about missed the steam train that came thundering down the track behind me. It’s a rubbish shot but I’ll post it any way, in case you are more of a train spotter than a twitcher,

Train spotting

its the 45407 engine,  here is all you need to know, and more besides

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

26 thoughts on “Bird, Black and White

  1. We call Pewits (Green Plover) ‘Tearfits’. Or more exactly, where I grew up, we did. Their aerobatics are amazing. Their chicks, newly hatched, are cute little balls of almost black fluff on extraordinarily long legs.

    As ever, Excellent piccies!

  2. Good call. Lapwings over steam trains every time.

    I love the call – like an old electronic handheld game. I think I laughed out loud the first time I heard it.

  3. nice photos of that wonderful thing called flight

  4. What a beautiful bird! I’ve never seen it’s like before. How wonderful that it lives and flies where you live and shoot photos!

  5. Brilliant photos. Well done.

  6. These are wonderful! “Feat of origami” indeed – I never saw such a thing. We have related birds–piping plovers and killdeer–but they have nowhere near as much wing to pack up! I love the little topknot on the lapwing. That second-to-last bird photo looks like an owl on stilts . . . Now I must go look up twitcher.

  7. Back again. Mercy! British birds must be very self-possessed. A Michigan bird confronted with a crowd of 5,000 twitchers would either faint dead away from shock or flee across the Canadian border.

    OK, I played the lapwing recording, too, and now Miss Sadie and the Cowboy are inspecting the computer for mice. Must go.

  8. Absolutely superb photo of an amazing looking bird! I’ve never seen any of these but would love to see one aloft like that. xx

  9. What incredible wings! Thanks for the great photos and write-up ~I’ve never seen a lapwing either. On your comment to Gerry, I was sorry to read of the fate of the poorAmerican robin ~ finally reaching land but with such bad timing ~ Sparrowhawk’s teatime! The Sparrowhawk stole the show!

  10. The lapwing is my favourite bird, but I haven’t seen one in years. I love the little curl on the top of the head, the oily green and purple colouring, and those ungainly flapping wing-tips. Whenever I am contemplating buying another bird book I always check out the picture of the lapwing and make this a kind of yardstick. Likewise, when buying a cookery book I judge it on its version of carrot and orange soup!

  11. Up here the lapwing is the Chughit bird and heralds the coming of spring.

  12. Oh my – poor robin. Effective control of an invasive species, though.

  13. What a spectacular bird! I would love to see one of these. Bernie and I spend quite a bit of time spotting birds where ever we go, and they are one of the main types of animals that he photographs.

    Lovely photographs!

  14. Amazing captures. I remember seeing huge flocks of lapwings circling fields again and again before landing… but that became a rarer and rarer sight in North Yorkshire (I’ve since left, so have no idea if numbers are back up. Does anyone know if they’re endangered?)

  15. I was childishly amused by the Latin name of that poor robin…

  16. This is a fab set of photos of this fascinating bird. Here we have them in the field with the oystercatchers and curlews. I almost had a good shot of a field filled with curlews but we were out in the landie and as the OH slowed so I could take the shot the brakes squealed loudly and so they all flew off before I could get a shot.

    • Curlews are on my wish list, another problem of photo taking from Landrovers is that every cow in the field thinks you’ve brought fodder and comes charging down the hill, I once pulled off the Rd into a gateway, to make an important business call on my mobile; only to have the accompaniment of 20 mooing heifers in the background, it rather blew my ‘business cred’

  17. I love lapwings and grew up calling them peewits – wasn’t until I was grown up that I realised that lapwings and peewits were the same thing:) Love the train photo – I’m a trainspotter when it comes to steam engines!

  18. Very fine photographs on your pages. You make me miss lapwings!

  19. Lovely blog. I came across you via Google, searching for a particular type of bird I’d seen in Southern Italy. So now thanks to the lapwing I’ve identified my bird and found a great new blog to read!

  20. Great photos of this amazing bird!

  21. Wonderful photos. What type of camera system do you have, please? I ask as my birds always look like LBJs (littel brown jobs)

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