The Flower of the Vine returns

Wheatears are back on Westray. They’ve made their way from Africa to Westray to raise their families in hollows, rabbit burrows and under rock piles. Their numbers are much reduced because of land use, farming practice and also because we’ve eaten most of them:

I’m out at Noup Head and enjoying the seabirds flying past the cliffs. As I stumble down the steep grassy slopes, peppered with outcropping rocks, I see a female Wheatear. Beautiful, aren’t they?

Northern Wheatear - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Their scientific name is Oenanthe oenanthe, which is Greek and means ‘Flower of the Vine’, because they arrive in Greece at the same time as grapevines flower. I can’t wait for their ebullient chicks to be bouncing around the coast, fattening themselves up for their long journey back to Africa.

Feel free to leave a Reply :)