Thursday, 18 September 2014

Very pleasant birding conditions throughout the day encouraged a good bit of visible migration ('vismig') to occur in the morning, which was perhaps the most entertaining period of the day. A total of three Skylarks, 93 Swallows, four House Martins, 215 Meadow Pipits, a flava Wagtail and 14 Grey Wagtails were recorded. Amongst the flocks of passerine migrants was a very interesting flava wagtail, which settled down in the fields below Ty Pellaf for the majority of the day. The bird showed features which are suggestive of a first winter Grey-headed Wagtail (M. thunbergi). This would only be the second autumn thunbergi in the UK this autumn. In other news, a Garden Warbler, 35 Chiffchaffs, 24 Goldcrests, four Spotted Flycatchers and a Pied Flycatcher were seen.

Probable Grey-headed Wagtail. Features which made this bird rather distinctive were the reduced and quite weak supercilum, very dark ear coverts, with the dark colouring continuing over the head and mantle, and an almost complete dark mottled 'shoal' on the breast. Interestingly, Martin Garner found a very similar-looking bird at Flamborough recently, which can be seen HERE 
For comparison, this typical flavissima Yellow Wagtail was seen late in the afternoon on the 19th

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