We are lucky enough to have pied wagtails – usually just one pair – in the garden every year. They raised a family and for much of the summer there were 4 patrolling the roof ridge. Recently, prolific evening fly hatches have provided them with great sport as they hawk for the insects from the roof, fluttering briefly into action and returning to their perch. On some evenings they have been joined by up to 2 dozen other wagtails, and for half an hour at dusk they have looped and swooped round and round, eating on the wing. I wondered if there was a collective noun for wagtails to go with the charms, murmurations, murders and parliaments that other birds are awarded. The only one I found was in a jocular list by a determinedly downbeat birder, who applied the term ‘a permanent narcissism of wagtails’. 

Pied Wagtail Dorset 10Pied Wagtail Dorset 3 Pied Wagtail Dorset 4 Pied Wagtail Dorset 8Pied Wagtail Dorset 6   Pied Wagtail Dorset 9 Pied Wagtail Dorset 7


  1. 🙂 🙂 Lucky you, I’m sure your cute princesses were all thrilled about this family in the summer! How do you like the German name; Trauerbachstelze …Say it once more, please. 🙂
    Have a wonderful weekend, Dina x


    1. That’s a fine name, Dina, and I have been practising say the word. “Trauerbachstelze”. Was that correct? But it puzzles me. I broke the word up into ‘Sadness – Stream – Whatever a Stelze may be’. And a Stelze seems to relate to food. What is the happy, chirpy Pied Wagtail doing moping around streams anyway? RH (PS senior Princess is excellent on bird ID and butterflies. Not schoolwork, however. Yet. The other 2 aren’t that interested in birds. Yet.)


    1. Until I looked at them closely – i.e. with a bit off zoom – I’d never noticed the yellowy patches. It is a treat to have them around, but unless a gang come together on a warm evening to feed on the wing, we never get more than one family in the garden each year. I think they must be very territorial. In Dorset, anyway!


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