A short stroll round Carsington’s Stones Island produced some very nice birds, 3 Dunlin, a single Ringed Plover plus 2 Turnstones were the wader highlights along with 2+ Common Sandpipers. The Great Northern Diver was distant but could be seen to be in summer plumage. a good number of warblers were singing including Garden Warblers, Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroat (1) Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. Loads of hirundines were feeding over the water and islands.
However the highlight for me was a flock of 8+ Yellow Wagtails, always super birds! We were very pleased to come across a beautiful male Blue-headed Wagtail with them too! Careful scrutiny seemed to rule out the “channel” form of flavaxflavissima.The bird showed the typical Blue-headed blue grey head ear-coverts and nape, strong white super’, very thin white crescent under the eye (sub-ocular “patch”), solid looking ear coverts (just slightly darker than crown in this one), and the thin white sub-moustachial line and restricted white chin contrasting with the yellow throat. A “Channel” wagtail looks somewhat different, usually having a different head tone (paler, with some almost lavender in tone), with “hollow looking” ear coverts and a super’ that “flares” after the eye, a larger sub-ocular patch etc.
Also with the wagtail flock were several White Wagtails too, some better than others!
The whole flock was very active and restless, this made them hard to photograph as we did not want to disturb them at all. So I settled for long distance record shots!
Above 3 images of the Blue-headed Wag. Video below….
The above bird appears to be a first summer? There is moult contrast in the greater coverts (inner ones older), and there are brown tones to the flight feathers. The bird looks a little dark in the grey areas in this shot, but was in life a classic with the grey rump etc (its a bugger to see that by the way!). Below is an awful shot of one of the adult male’s present, but you can see the all adult greater coverts etc
Male Yellow Wagtail
Female Yellow Wagtail.
Looking hard at the above bird I’m not sure if I can rule out a female Blue-headed? I suspect though its just a dull Yellow….
By way of contrast with the Blue-headed Wagtail here is a male “Channel” Wagtail taken in the days of slide film! You can see the differences in the head pattern, colour etc…. mind you as Yellow Wagtails in their infinite beautiful forms are a nightmare, anything can be anything in reality, they are not to be pigeonholed lightly LOL!