yellow wagtail defined in 1930 yearyellow wagtail - Yellow Wagtail;
yellow wagtail - Top of head, lore, nape, back, and scapulars greenish olive; a bright yellow streak over the eye; lower parts sulphur-yellow Length, six inches.
The yellow wagtail is a summer visitor, arriving at the end of March or early in April in this country, and is found very nearly in all parts of England, and is also common in the southern counties of Scotland; farther north it is rare, and in Ireland it is only known to breed in one locality. On its arrival it frequents open downs and sheepwalks, pastures, commons, and arable lands, more especially fields where spring sowing is in progress. On this account it has been named in some districts the barley-bird and oat-seed-bird, and in Scotland seed-bird and seed-lady - the last a suitable appellation for so sweet and dainty a creature. Seebohm says of it: ' Its active, sylph-like movements, and its delicate form and lovely plumage, make it a general favourite.' In its motions on the ground, its tail shaking and fanning gestures, and in its fitful curving and dipping flight, accompanied with a sharp double call-note, it closely resembles the species already described. From the pied wagtail it differs in never coming about houses or breeding in their vicinity; and from the grey wagtail in not being restricted to the waterside. In the fields it follows the plough, and in the pastures it is often seen with the cattle, chasing the small twilight moths and other insects driven from the grass.
As the season advances it forsakes the cultivated lands and open downs, and is more restricted to borders of streams, and to meadows and pastures not far from water. The nest is placed on the ground under the grass and herbage, and is formed of dry bents and fibrous roots, and lined with hair. Four to six eggs are laid, mottled with pale brown and olive on a French-white ground.
Besides the three species described we have the white wagtail (Motacilla alba) as a rare visitor to the south of England and Ireland, and the blue-headed yellow wagtail (Motacilla flaca), an accidental straggler to the southern, south-western, and eastern counties of England. These two species breed throughout Europe, the first being the continental form of our pied wagtail, which it closely resembles; and the second, of the yellow wagtail.
near yellow wagtail in Knolik
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