Pied wagtail is without doubt one of my favourite birds but I'm really rubbish at ageing and sexing them. I'm usually quite happy to just enjoy the aesthetics of the plumage without getting bogged down in the nitty gritty. There was a nice little group feeding in the sheep fields when I took the dog for a walk along the cycle path this afternoon, comprising 11 birds. None were terribly close so my photos are predictably poor. The above bird is presumably a female but what do moulting young males look like (presumably there are clues in the greater coverts and tertials as to the age) and when do they complete post juv moult? I really need to get the books out! There is some really heavy black smudging (ok for ad wint female) in the mantle and the rear crown is jet black.
This looks more like a straightforward adult winter female. Compare the extent and intensity of grey on the flanks to the bird above. Mind you, the posture of the bird makes a difference.
A nice straightforward adult winter male but look at the huge amount of white in the greater coverts - nice but not unusual I'm annoyed I couldn't get a better photo.
Adult winter female?
Adult female white wagtail? Look how clean the flanks are and the mantle is a nice clean pale grey (it appeared more so in the field). I think the grey crown means this has to be white wag. Any comments greatly appreciated.
Adult female again? These birds have a habit of making me feel like an absolute beginner. There has been a sustained ringing programme carried out at Slapton Ley and I've got some literature on it somewhere on the bookshelf - think I need to take another look.