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.
Hi Matt, found your new blog via Steve Waite's. Delighted - and flattered - to see you have my blog on your list, now added yours to mine of course. From your track record you're going to have some fine birds to write about, look forward to seeing more.ReplyDelete
Just one thought re your poss. White Wag. I'm no expert but I think it more likely a 1W, hard to tell but there seems to be a moult contrast in the GCs, and I think there's some blackish on the crown? Of course, could still be a White Wag, did you get a view of the rump? As for ageing the others, I'll leave that to someone who knows what they're talking about.
All the best
Hi Tim. Love your blog - In awe of your artwork - one of the main reasons I decided to start blog. I did look for the rump colour (I know its grey in white/black in pied) but no luck and limited time. Mike too thinks its just pied wag. It struck me as being really pale in the field but its not in the photo! Interesting birds. many thanks for my very first 'comment'.Delete
Hi Matt, thanks again and at the risk of this turning into a mutual appreciation society I'll just say that I really enjoyed looking through your sketches. I like the way you simplify shapes and patterns and show the bird's character/personality. Keep at it and I hope you post more, and next time you find something good I might stray off patch and pop down and see it.ReplyDelete
Btw your gull sp. - the closer standing bird on the Gallery page, why isn't it a 2cy graellsii? As for the other gull, I wouldn't like to say than either than michahellis (probably) or graellsii (possibly).
Hi Tim I think it is lesser black back but just wasn't certain was interested to see dark markings on tarsi visible front on but little else going for Azorean I might do a post on it.Delete
Just found your blog too and interested to hear someone else saying that wagtail make you feel like a beginner again. I live in Hong Kong and have plenty of races of White Wagtails to struggle with.ReplyDelete
I lived and birded in Devon for a while in the 1980s (based in Plymouth) so I'll be interested to follow how you do.
Hi Mike, thank you for getting in touch. I think it's a case of the more you learn, the more you realise you don't know! I'll try and get some more photos and post them on here.Delete