A secretive creature,
increasingly seen
in fields and hedge-rows.
Nest-sites generally discovered
near planning notices tacked to walls
or sodden posts the wind has buffeted.

Mating habits unclear
as they are rarely seen in pairs,
though one was recently observed
bumper to bumper
with another, smaller variety
down the old road
to the dog pound.

Plumage invariably white
if mud-caked on the fender.
Some show the dents
of previous breeding.

Arrival heralds, not spring,
but a definite change in season.
That field, clover-filled,
frilled by the red
of cock-pheasants,
soon transformed
by a rich swathe of cement,
the soothing thump of pile-drivers.

Happily, population numbers
give no cause for concern,
although we can never be complaisant
when it comes to wild life.