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Fri 23rd April 2010

Posted on April 23, 2010 at 4:30 PM

birds : A phone call from Bob last night and he described what sounded very like a Morroccan White Wagtail down at L'Eree. It's not a very likely vagrant as they are resident there, and they have only been seen in nearby Spain previously, but it was intriguing and so I went down at lunchtime to search for it. I saw it straight away by the slipway and it stuck out like a sore thumb as it was much darker-headed than all the White Wagtails feeding on the beach.

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I concentrated on getting photos and realised that the head-pattern wasn't right for the 'personata' race. The main feature was that the whole of the rear part of the ear-coverts was black, which gave the head a whole different look to it, with a white spot on the side of the neck and the hint of a supercilium.

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'alba' Wagtail ssp., L'Eree

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The pattern of the head does not match any race of alba wagtail at all and so it is a bit speculative what it may be. I strongly favour just an oddly-plumaged, first-year male Pied Wagtail. The back was a touch darker than the accompanying Whites, and there was distinct darker mottling, and look at the blackish band on the rump. These can only be shown by Pied Wagtail I imagine, all the other westen races being very pale like White. It is a bit of a scruffy bird, with the wing feathers being very brown in places and the tail being a bit moth-eaten. The dark on the ear coverts may be remnants of immature head shading. I can't be sure to be fair, but as it doesn't match any other race, that's what I am left with. But it was a striking and interesting bird and well worth seeing.

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There were stack-loads of wagtails on the beach there, with an estimated 50 Whites and 30 Yellow Wagtails, this was easily the most I've seen here.

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nonsense : No time for nonsense at the moment, with millions of stuff to do, but I did read today that apparently I am older than Homer Simpson! D'oh!

Categories: 2010 Spring