Wheatear aka Le Cul-blanc

The Wheatears are on the move, there were a couple of females that took a pitstop along the Cottenham Lode on the outskirts of our village while on passage south. They were first spotted on 18th August by friend Josh C, and Mrs Sciencebase and myself saw them on the 21st, although it was drizzly so I wasn’t carrying my camera. Here’s a male I snapped in May 2017 in Aldeburgh. Suffolk.

By the way, the name Wheatear has nothing to do with wheat, ears, nor ears of wheat, even. It’s from the 16th Century name meaning “white arse” as the bird famously has a white rump. The French call it the Cul-blanc. They used to be caught and roasted as seaside snacks on the South Coast in the 1700s. Apparently, half a million every year. I think I’ve seen fewer than a dozen in my whole life…but imagine a time when a bird that seems fairly rare was so abundant…makes you wonder where they all went…ah.