Vanellus vanellus

On tap o the muir, walking hameward,
‘Mind whaur ye’re gaun,’ says granfaither.
Ah luik doon at ma buits, haltit alangside
a scart in the yird, lined wi beusty gress
and heather sprigs. A clutch o fower dusky eggs
are laid in a circle, pointy ends inward.

‘When we were laddies, if we were oot
aa day on the hill, we wad licht
a wee fire tae cook an eat thaim.
We wadna dae it noo, the peesies
are no sae mony as they yased tae be.’

Wallopie wings are flochtering abune us,
whaur a tappit green and purpie burd skirls
pwae – widdle-weep, i ­ weep, i weep,
cheee – o weep,  peesweep

peewit, lapwing

scart, shallow scrape

beusty, last year’s grass

wallopie, flapping

flochtering, flickering

tappit, crested

photograph: Warebeth field, Stromness, Orkney, August / Teeick egg (Lapwing) Stromness Museum