Tim writes: this was a flock of Knot at excessive tide at Spurn in East Yorkshire taken in early October.  I say Knot, although if you happen to look actually fastidiously there are at the very least eight Dunlin amongst them.  Many of the Knot are in gray winter plumage however a number of of them have orange mottling, remnants from their breeding plumage. These Knot had just lately arrived from their breeding grounds in Greenland or Arctic Canada.  Although they all the time stage half approach in Iceland to refuel.   I’m not normally a fan of fixing established English names comparable to Knot to Purple Knot, however on the flip of the Nineteenth Century we had three Knots on the British listing.  These have been Knot, Purple Knot and Ash-colored Sandpiper, which have been juvenile, breeding and winter plumaged Knots respectively.  In case you have a look at Thomas Bewick’s Historical past of British Birds Vol II (1804) on the superb Biodiversity Heritage Library  you possibly can see for your self.  Though George Montagu, of Montagu’s Harrier fame, had printed his Ornithological Dictionary two years earlier in 1802, and he sorted all of the confusion and lowered the British Listing significantly in doing so.

The title Knot has been in use since at the very least 1452 (current spelling since 1622) and is seemingly imitative of the fowl’s flight name, although they pronounced the silent Ok till the 18th Century (ker-not).  The scientific title canutus could be named after King Canute (reigned 1016-1035), the one who obtained his ft moist to show to sycophantic followers that he couldn’t cease the tide.  Though the title could also be a latinised model of the title Knot, which is onomatopoeic.  No one actually is aware of although some sources say Canute loved consuming them.  John Ray in 1676 referred to as them Canutus avis, or Canute’s Chook.


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