Archive for Mar 9th, 2023


Tug of War

There were two birds that ‘got me into’ birding. The first was a ‘drumming’ Snipe. The second was the Lapwing.

I remember the day I took my newly acquired Swift 10×50 binoculars to ‘Pottery Pond’ near the Woodman Inn in Swinton; not too far from where I entered the world.

Pottery Pond was a regular haunt of the pre-teenage me. I used to fish there for sticklebacks as a boy. The pond was a deep steep sided flooded pit that had supplied the clay for the nearby large bottle-shaped kiln of Rockingham Pottery. Long since disused, the kiln had last been fired in the 1840s, the old Pottery and area held a fascination for me. It was on the edge of the South Yorkshire conurbation and heralded the start of the local countryside. I still have a couple of pieces of Rockingham Pottery; marked with their distinctive ‘griffin’ stamp. A reminder of times past.

I remember distinctly looking over the fence, with the pond at my back, into the ploughed field to see a continuous carpet of feeding birds. What gripped my imagination was the crest. That long plume of head feathers. Feathers that quivered and bent in the breeze. How could something so incredibly beautiful be living here, around where I lived? How had I not noticed them before? I sort of knew what they were, but a quick glance in my Observers Book of Birds when I got home confirmed my thoughts. They were Lapwings.

The species has never lost it’s fascination for me. My heart still skips a beat when I see one close-up. That metallic green mantle in good light is enough to take anyone’s breath away. When I see one well I’m always taken back to that day at Pottery Pond fifty something years ago.

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Mar 2023


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