Most birds and animals with the title Grey preceding them have a genuine cause for protest. As fashionable as the colour seems to be on the high street; in the wild a “grey… <<insert name here>>” sighting rarely conjures the excitement and enthusiasm it deserves. 

Grey seal, Grey Heron, Grey Wolf, Great Grey Shrike, Great Grey Owl! Okay, the great preceding the grey might help debunk any perceived blandness, but generally these descriptive common names, on paper at least, really struggle to inspire.

So damaged is the reputation of the “Grey” species, that when I tell people the bird with the “waggy tail and rich yellow front” they’ve just seen is, in fact, a Grey Wagtail, they look at me with a distinct gaze of distrust. This miscarriage of justice could also be true of the Grey Partridge.

Grey Partridge were once a common sight across the UK but are now listed as Red Status bird. In fact, my first ever Grey Partridge sighting was only last Autumn. So when I stumbled across a flock (or covey) of around six Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) on the borders of Burley Moor, I was more than thrilled.

On the subsequent days I went searching for my new muse, the weather was substantially greyer than the bird itself. Very shy and elusive, I only caught glimpses of them and heard them more than I saw them. Managing to get some detailed photographs though has really helped grow a greater appreciation for the bird. I’m particularly fascinated by their facial markings and the delicate splattering of red that appears around their eyes.

It’s so exciting seeing these birds so locally, I really hope, I get more sightings over the year ahead and get a chance to discover their story here.