Bald As A Coot?
While a young coot chick might look pretty bald, this is not actually the origins of the phrase. It’s in reference to the white frontal shield of the adult coot (see image below). This similarly applies to the name of the Bald Eagle, which has a fine head of white feathers. Bald also appears in the word Piebald, referring to horses, birds and other animals that are black and white. So where does this word for white actually come from? Annabel Rushton sheds some light on this in the RSPB community blog:
You often hear the phrase ‘bald as a coot’, but as you can see from the photo, they are covered in feathers. Even the chick, though a little sparse on its head, has a flame of red and orange down. So where has the saying come from? Well the word ‘bald’ is actually derived from an old English word ‘bala’ which means ‘white patch’. If you look at a coot, they have a white patch above their beak known as a ‘knob’ or a ‘frontal shield’. It is this that has given rise to the term ‘bald as a coot’, rather than because they are featherless.
A coot is a water bird which has marking on its head that gives it an appearance of being bald. It does have feathers on his head but it is the way it looks from a distance that gives this expression its shape.
This phrase has been in existence since several centuries with the first literary use being in 1430 in ‘Chronicle of Troy’ written by John Lydgate.
ShareMondays2018: On A Slate Grey Day
Sunday was a grey old day! The views from Box Hill were muted and hazy. It tried to rain on us! Still, there’s good coffee and cheese scones at the cafe to accompany the delightful song of this lovely little pied wagtail, perched on the cafe roof. I really loved the tones of green and gold in the background, the moss and lichen topping the slate roof. The box trees are about to flower, catkins and buds adorn the branches just about everywhere you look. Even without the sun it was starting to feel a lot more Spring-like! This sight and sound was a highlight of the week for me so I’m posting it for all three challenges today, Wex Mondays, ShareMondays and fsprintmonday from Fotospeed.
Wordless Wednesday: The River Wey Of Life
A wonderful six-spot burnet moth on a wild scabious flower, found on Saturday on the slopes of Box Hill. It was great to find a number of day-flying moths while I was out doing The Big Butterfly Count.
The North Downs, including Box Hill, provide a truly precious habitat for many butterfly and moth species. The day was dull but warm enough to bring out a few of my favourites! Also one I had not photographed before, the marbled white. What a beauty it is!
After such a lovely reaction from people to my burnet moth image last week, I thought I’d throw this one into the hat for Wex Mondays and the Fotospeed challenge today. There’s also a gallery of some of the other beautiful butterflies I spotted. The Big Butterfly Count runs for two weeks and you can even download the Butterfly Conservation UK app to your smartphone, to help you survey areas or add individual sightings wherever you are in the country!
also included into WPC: Collage