Diary of a Young Naturalist – The Pied Wagtail Nest

15.05.18 School grounds. Drizzle but parting clouds.

It had been a tough day at school, the heaviness of the day became weightier as the hours passed. My head was swimming and I was struggling to see past some disappointments that had happened in the morning.

Wildlife and nature are my go-to’s; when people ask if I’m okay, I cringe inside, because really I’m trying to just process and figure things out. Nothing will put a skip back in my step like wildlife, it never disappoints me because when it happens in an unexpected moment, it is untouched by human hand, it is pure and it can’t hurt me, like people can.

I saw it fly out and in and out again and I pressed forward to peer inside, quickly and without disturbance. It was perfect. The nest of a Pied Wagtail. The bird that dances and hops at everyone’s feet but goes unnoticed by most. Its liveliness and clockwork tail always brings a smile. It brought to me this perfect thing, a moment that no one could take away. It was mine. Three perfect silver, speckled eggs, cosy with wool. I breathed a sigh of relief. The anxiety forgotten. I sat and watched the female from a distance as she flew back in. She builds the nest and incubates the eggs, mostly alone, twice a year. They hatch in less than a fortnight. Almost all Pied Wagtails live in the UK and they are part of the the White Wagtail race, which live across mainland Europe.

I’ve been told by Twitter that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. This resonates with me. Those on the autistic spectrum are very prone to anxiety and depression. Nature is my therapy- using my focus on something other than my own thoughts; it helps. A lot.

The first Herb Robert also appeared in the garden today. Pink wild blooms amongst the green is always good, too.

Thanks for reading



  1. Great post Dara- I’m lucky enough to have 3 pairs of nesting Pied Wagtail in my Surrey school and it’s a pleasure to watch. Lots of respect for your writing and work – keep it up!👍🏾

    Liked by 1 person

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