Bathing beauties

Homes for Wildlife

Homes for Wildlife
If you love the creatures in your garden, you'll love our Homes for Wildlife project. This is the place to ask and answer questions about making your backyard wildlife-friendly.

Gardening for wildlife

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Bathing beauties

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My new garden pond was filled just before Christmas, and if you'd asked me to predict which birds will visit it, top of my list would be this one, which arrived on the very first day and has been regular since.

The photograph was taken through my bedroom window, but nevertheless you can see that the name Grey Wagtail just doesn't do them justice. The 'Bright-yellow-ended Wagtail' might have been more fitting, perhaps? And once they enter breeding plumage with a smart black throat, they are even more dapper.

I thought the pebbly margin I added might really suit them, given that they are most at home on the gushing, stony streams of upland Britain.

And I love how they make full use of that long tail, wagging it as enthusiastically as a spaniel.

The population estimate for the whole of the UK is just 38,000 pairs, and numbers are falling, enough for this to be another species on the Red List of Species of Conservation Concern, so I feel very privileged to have one spending the winter in my neighbourhood, and even prouder that it should have taken a shine to my pond.

What I didn't expect was that this boy would take to the water so readily.

I've seen him three times now, and given that I am out most of the time, I presume he is very regular indeed. He is a male Sparrowhawk; unlike the rather mud brown female, he has steelier plumage on the back and then that lovely salmony hue on the cheek and sides of the breast.

What next, I wonder? Anything now seems possible!

  • Hi Wildlife Friendly.

    As you know, the pond was in large part inspired by yours, which ranks as one of the most perfect I've ever seen. However (and here's the confession!), I still haven't tidied the edges of my new pond and cut off the excess liner, so I was saving the 'grand reveal' until I've done that!

  • Can we see some shots of your whole pond please, I'd love to see how it matures.