Year after year the same White Wagtail pair breed in our garden, – at least we like to think so. Being migrants they come for the summer and by now they have bred and their offsprings chase them around the garden. The young ones whine for food, or just attention. It is interesting to observe their agile flying skills to catch insects, spiders and the like. They even grab the occasional seed from the feeders.
The White Wagtail’s winter grounds are in West Africa and most arrive back in Iceland in the end of April or beginning of May. The Icelandic breeding population counts around 50,000 pairs.
There are still some summer birds around although most have migrated to warmer climates. The weather has been exceptionally good, no harsh autumn winds yet and the temperature a bit higher than the average. No need to rush when life is so good.
These are two of the guests that still honour us with their presence.
In our last Wagtail blog the White Wagtail had its beak full of nesting material. Now it has its beak full of flies and larva for its young ones. We have not spotted the chicks yet but they stay in the nest until they can fly. The Wagtail lays eggs only once each summer, not twice or three times like the Thrushes.
The White Wagtail pair is building a nest in a big spruce tree in the garden, the same tree as in recent years. This is the female collecting horse hair that will in all probability serve as a lining inside the nest.
In the last few days a few White Wagtails have been in the garden seeking shelter and food. Crushed wholemeal biscuits have turned out to be their favorite food in the frost and wind. They also look for spiders on the sides of the house and in trees.
The White Wagtail (Motacilla alba) is a beautiful little bird that constantly wags its long tail. It is quite noticeable dashing about in the garden in the summer time. The Wagtail is one of the migratory birds which arrival is looked forward to in the spring.
We like the Wagtail a lot and there is usually a pair with a nest in the garden every year. It quite likes the oatmeal biscuits we feed it.