Category Archives: 15) Pipits and Wagtails

Eastern Yellow Wagtail in Scilly

By Yoav Perlman

Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla (flava) tschutschensis is the eastern counterpart of Western Yellow Wagtail. It is divided into two main groups – ‘blue-headed’ with supercilium (tschutschensis and taivana), and ‘grey/black-headed’ without supercilium (plexa and macronyx).

Distribution map of yellow wagtails, from Bot, S., Gronendijk, D., and van oosten, H. H. (2014). Eastern yellow wagtails in -Europe: identification and vocalisations. Dutch Birding 36: 295-311.

Distribution map of yellow wagtails, from: Bot, S., Gronendijk, D., and van Oosten, H. H. (2014). Eastern yellow wagtails in Europe: identification and vocalisations. Dutch Birding 36: 295-311.

This is another taxon that seems to get identified in Western Europe in increasing frequency. There are three accepted records in the UK: Colyton, Devon in December 2010 bird that was DNA’d, featured in the definitive article by Sander Bot (2014) et al. (Dutch Birding 36: 295-311), Outer Skerries (Shetland) in 2011, and an old specimen from Fair Isle 1909. But there are some further recent strong candidates in the UK that ticked all (or most) boxes. Some have featured on Birding Frontiers before – for example here and here. Looking back through the archives of Birding Frontiers, the learning curve is apparent – Martin really pushed the boundaries here. With the progression of knowledge, it is possible that BBRC will accept future records without DNA, based on good photos and sound recordings.

This striking individual was present in Scilly earlier this month. To my eyes and ears it is a perfect example of an Eastern Yellow Wagtail. I want to thank Nigel Hudson (BBRC secretary) who helped me obtain material for this post, and kindly shared the ‘story’ of its discovery with me:

On October 13th, while Nigel was cutting his front garden grass, a group of birders that included Mark Andrews walked past his house as they headed out from Lower Moors on St. Mary’s. To his question if there was anything about, they showed him on their camera screens photos of an odd yellow wagtail, and they mentioned Eastern Yellow Wagtail as a possibility. Nigel rushed the whole 100 m from his house to where the wagtail was, and after initial views alerted local birders. They all obtained great photos of the bird and some sound recordings during the few days it stayed in the same area – a selection is presented here.

When identifying 1st-winter Eastern Yellow Wagtails, it is necessary to exclude Citrine Wagtail and Western Yellow Wagtail, and hybrids between the two (like this possible bird). A small proportion of 1st-winter Western Yellow Wagtails can give a similar monochromatic impression; and especially in the eastern fringes of the range; in beema and lutea, 1st-winters tend to be more monochromatic, lacking or almost lacking yellow and green tones, especially females (1st-winter males are on average yellower than females). In Eastern Yellow Wagtails a high proportion of 1st-winters are very grey-and-white. Some show faint yellow tones on the mantle, undertail coverts and tertial fringes, but the Scilly bird is as cold as it gets:

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. photo by Simon Knight.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Simon Knight http://simonknightphotography.zenfolio.com/.

Two Western Yellow Wagtails for comparison:

Western Yellow Wagtail (flava), Bet Kama, israel, 2 September 2013. Photo by Yoav Perlman.

Western Yellow Wagtail (flava), 1st-winter, Bet Kama, Israel, 2 September 2013. Photo by Yoav Perlman.

'British' Western Yellow Wagtail (flavissima), Spurn, East Yorkshire, 6 September 2015. Photo by Yoav Perlman.

‘British’ Western Yellow Wagtail (flavissima), Spurn, East Yorkshire, 6 September 2015. Photo by Yoav Perlman.

Eastern Yellow Wagtails are sometimes placed in the same phylogenetic clade together with Citrine Wagtail, and indeed share some morphological features.

DNA cladogram of several wagtail taxa, from Odeen, A., and Björklund, M. (2003). Dynamics in the evolution of sexual traits: Losses and gains, radiation and convergence in yellow wagtails (Motacilla flava). Molecular Ecology 12: 2113-2130.

DNA cladogram of several wagtail taxa, from: Odeen, A., and Björklund, M. (2003). Dynamics in the evolution of sexual traits: Losses and gains, radiation and convergence in yellow wagtails (Motacilla flava). Molecular Ecology 12: 2113-2130.

The call of Eastern Yellow Wagtail is close to the call of Citrine Wagtail, but not quite there with regard to high pitch and rasp.  Western Yellow Wagtail calls can be divided into two groups – sweet calls of western taxa (e.g. flavissima, flava) and rasping call of east European taxa (e.g. feldegg). I didn’t obtain a proper sound recording of the Scilly bird, but in this rather atmospheric video by Will Scott the diagnostic call can be heard at 0:06 (put your headphones on!).

Compared to Western Yellow, both Eastern Yellow and Citrine show more extensive white tips to greater and median coverts, creating two bolder white wingbars, and more white on tertial fringes.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Steve Young https://birdsonfilm.smugmug.com/

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Steve Young https://birdsonfilm.smugmug.com/

Though rarely 1st-winter Citrine Wagtails show incomplete ear coverts surround, Eastern Yellow Wagtail can be readily identified by wholly or predominately dark ear coverts, narrower supercilium, and pale base to lower mandible, just about visible here in this brighter photo, where some faint yellow and green hues can be seen:

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Kris Webb.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Kris Webb.

1st-winter Citrine Wagtail for comparison:

Citrine Wagtail, 1st-winter, Ashdod, Israel, 16 September 2013. Photo by Yoav Perlman.

Citrine Wagtail, 1st-winter, Ashdod, Israel, 16 September 2013. Photo by Yoav Perlman.

Citrine and Eastern Yellow Wagtails also share a long hind-claw, longer than in Western Yellow. So if you see a wagtail with a hind-claw as long as this it might come from the east:

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Steve Young https://birdsonfilm.smugmug.com/

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Steve Young https://birdsonfilm.smugmug.com/

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Steve Young https://birdsonfilm.smugmug.com/

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Steve Young https://birdsonfilm.smugmug.com/

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Steve Young https://birdsonfilm.smugmug.com/

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Steve Young https://birdsonfilm.smugmug.com/

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Simon Knight http://simonknightphotography.zenfolio.com/

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Simon Knight http://simonknightphotography.zenfolio.com/

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Simon Knight http://simonknightphotography.zenfolio.com/

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Simon Knight http://simonknightphotography.zenfolio.com/

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Simon Knight http://simonknightphotography.zenfolio.com/

Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Lower Moors, St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly, October 2016. Photo by Simon Knight http://simonknightphotography.zenfolio.com/

Many thanks again to Nigel Hudson and Will Scott who helped me with information and contacts; and to photographers Simon Knight, Steve Young and Kris Webb – they all have stunning images of lots of cool birds, check their websites!

‘xanthophrys‘ / ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Neot Smadar, S Negev, Israel, March 2016

Mixed Yellow Wagtails

Israel in spring is a great place to study Yellow Wagtail subspecies. There is a good mix of western and eastern forms, and the males are obviously very good looking in spring. Among the more distinct forms, such as nominate flava or the almost-full-species feldegg (ask the Dutch), there are some interesting ‘mixed’ birds. In late March, quite a few males that look similar to feldegg but have a supercilium are seen. Some have nice clean white supercilium:

Male ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, March 2011

Male ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, March 2011

Note also the prominent lower eye-ring. This bird is what I would expect a mix between feldegg and flava to look like. These birds normally give a sweet ‘western-type’ call. I would expect the female to look like this:

Female ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, Israel, March 2008

Female ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, Israel, March 2008

I call these birds ‘superciliaris‘ with quotation marks because the consensus is that it is not a real subspecies, but rather a ‘fluid’ mix from E of the Balkans.

During the recent Champions of the Flyway race day in late March, I found this stunning bird at Neot Smadar sewage farm. This tiny gem of a site in the desert held a couple hundred Yellow Wagtails, mainly feldegg and flava. I had very little time so couldn’t study it properly and just fired off a few images. I did hear it call – it gave a western call. But it looks very much like what I would expect from ‘xanthophrys‘ – another dodgy mix thing. This bird has a vivid yellow supercilium and dark green – blackish crown and ear coverts.

‘xanthophrys‘ / ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Neot Smadar, S Negev, Israel, March 2016

‘xanthophrys‘ / ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Neot Smadar, S Negev, Israel, March 2016

‘xanthophrys‘ / ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Neot Smadar, S Negev, Israel, March 2016

‘xanthophrys‘ / ‘superciliaris‘ Yellow Wagtail, Neot Smadar, S Negev, Israel, March 2016

It superficially resembles taivana, which belongs to the Eastern Yellow Wagtail group, but is separated by having too much black on the crown and ear coverts (taivana is greener) and also mantle is too dark green. taivana has a vivid green-yellow mantle, and lacks a prominent lower white eyering. Check stunning images here. And of course the call of the Eastern Yellow Wagtail group is distinctive, closer to Citrine Wagtail – check here.

This individual was seen by other birders as well and did attract some attention, because xanthophrys types are not commonly seen in Israel. I was slightly disappointed to hear its western call. xanthophrys should have rasping eastern calls, similar to feldegg and lutea that are the supposed ancestors of this mix. So what is this bird? I am not sure, probably superciliaris too. But because both forms superciliaris and xanthophrys are mixed anyway, I am not sure whether there is a real distinction between them or are they just two ends of a cline between birds with white supercilium in the west and yellow supercilium in the east?

Another mix-type that is seen in Israel in pretty good numbers is dombrowski that breeds in Romania. dombrowski is another type of mix between flava and feldegg or beema and feldegg:

‘dombrowski’ Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, March 2012

‘dombrowski’ Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, March 2012

It looks more like a very dark flava, rather than an eye-browed feldegg. Some individuals can be slightly paler and bluer than this, but they typically are dark and dull on the head and lack a pale ear coverts patch.

And here are some of the ancestors. Male Black-headed Yellow Wagtails are really unmistakable, and cracking too…

Black-headed Yellow Wagtails (feldegg), Yotvata,Israel, March 2016

Black-headed Yellow Wagtails (feldegg), Yotvata,Israel, March 2016

Female feldegg typically have a short yellow or sometimes whitish supercilium behind the eye:

female feldegg Yellow Wagtail, Bet Kama, N Negev, Israel, September 2013

female feldegg Yellow Wagtail, Bet Kama, N Negev, Israel, September 2013

flava Yellow Wagtails are pretty variable in Israel. Some are rather dark, deep blue-headed like this one and lack almost any pale on the ear coverts:

flava yellow Wagtail, Arava Valley, March 2013

flava yellow Wagtail, Arava Valley, March 2013

Some are a bit drabber, paler-headed with more pale on the ear coverts. This is a young male (2cy) – check the obvious moult contrast in the greater coverts:

flava Yellow Wagtail, 2cy male, Neot Smadar, May 2012

flava Yellow Wagtail, 2cy male, Neot Smadar, May 2012

beema Yellow wagtails are very pale headed, and typically have a large pale patch on the ear coverts. They have an eastern call.

beema Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, April 2014

beema Yellow Wagtail, Eilat, April 2014

lutea is a striking bird. Not dissimilar to the British Yellow Wagtails. Some have slightly greener ear coverts and crown. They have an eastern call as well. They are uncommon in Israel, but they are one of the dominant forms seen in East Africa in winter.

lutea Yellow Wagtail, Chem-Chem Lake, Kenya, December 2010

lutea Yellow Wagtail, Chem-Chem Lake, Kenya, December 2010

More on taivana Wagtails in Middle East

and ‘xanthophrys’  –  feldegg (Black-headed Wagtail) intergrade/hybrids 

Following Mike Watson’s images, Ian Boustead has flagged up another…  so revisiting these stunning yellow and black Wagtails has had the very helpful input of Oscar Campbell. Grahame Walbridge and others have v helpfully chipped in (see comments box on the recent post).

I have added a bit on calls at the end  (MG).

image001

“Here are some images of a flava wagtail, photographed at the pivot fields in Dubai in December 2009.” Ian Boustead

Oscar Campbell replies The bird Ian refers in the comment box is featured at in the UAE photo galleries ; one or more such individuals wintered at Dubai Pivot Fields from 2008 to 2012 at least. None of the images featured there are as good as the ones Ian has just emailed…

Anyway, consensus at the time amongst UAE birders was that the Pivots bird(s) fitted best as ‘xanthophrys’, which Alstrom & Mild in Pipits and Wagtails regard as an intergrade between feldegg and lutea…   cont’d below

 

image002 image006

all photos above by Ian Boustead, Pivot fields, Dubai, Dec. 2009

Same place, one year earlier.

Several examples seen in the Dubai Pivot fields in other years. This one photographed on 14th November 2008 – same area

feldegg hybird nick moran (1 of 1)

Photo above poached- take by sage-like BTO staff member Nick Moran :), Dubai Pivot Fields, 14th Nov 2008.

For more images of these bird(s)in Dubai Pivot Fields click HERE

 

… response cont’d from Oscar Campbell

The blackish blotches on crown and nape (also evident in Ian’s images) seem to indicate feldegg and the yellowish blotches on the cheek patches (more obvious in the UAE images than in the Oman bird) could be taken as indicative of lutea. Obviously, here in the UAE we would welcome any futher comment on this bird with regard to its identity.

One issue worth considering, and something I’d like to be enlightened on, is just how dark the ear coverts on taivana can get. HBW-Alive indicates that they can be pretty dark (darker then the image linked to by Jan). The only taivana I have seen (part of an enchanting flock of migrant Eastern Yellow Wagtails, mainly tschutschensis but also two taivana) in coastal fields in eastern Tawian, April 2012) went down in my notebook as having ‘thick, plain olive mask from lore through ear coverts to nape’. I also noted that the supercilium was ‘very broad, deep yellow; ending deeply and bluntly behind eye’. The supercilium on the UAE bird(s) is long and obviously curves downwards behind the ear coverts, in a manner rather similar to the pronounced effect on the Oman bird. This has the effect of cutting the mask off from the nape to some extent and giving a somewhat Citrine-like effect; again I am not sure this is a good feature for a true taivana. Finally, the rather obvious grey cast on the back of the bird(s) from the UAE (and especially evident in Ian’s images) is presumably at odds with taivana (?) – although I not sure it is compatible with either feldegg or lutea parentage either!

Oscar”

 

As ever Hanne and Jens Eriksen have some lovely summer time images of taivana HERE and for Oriental Bird Club images pages provides a very useful collection of ‘taivana’ photos to compare and contrast. Well worth  a visit here and remember to scroll through- lots more than just one photo! Click HERE

Calls and Sonagrams

MG – the bird below photographed in Turkey in August is going to have nice black mask and be classifiable a feldegg variant. The sonagram below is from call recorded same location. It’s clearly the ‘feldegg sonagram’ shape and not eastern taxa/ Citrine. Hopefully recordings  of birds in Dubai will be as revealing and why I am so keen on call recording 🙂

Turkey August 2009 466 ad male feldegg variant

 

feldegg wagtail turkey 19th Aug 2009 MGarner

Above photo and recording from Black-headed Wagtail variant. (Martin Garner)

Green-backed Wagtail heads west?

can you ID vagrants?

Mike Watson

The eastern most of the eastern flava wagtail clade is a stunner. Do they reach west? Claims have come from the Indian sub-continent of taivana. Odd similar birds have been reported as far west as France. The latter look like ‘sports’. Just odd variants of our western Yellow Wagtails.

Mike takes stunning photos anyhow so they are always worth showcasing. This wagtail was photographed at Khor Rori, Oman on 2 November 2015. It does look superficially good for taivana – the Green-backed Wagtail, with the ear coverts, breadth of the supercilium and the green mantle and nape. But sharp Oman birders have wondered about the extent of the yellow around the ear coverts thinking about the possibility of a hybrid with Citrine? Is it too extensive? Other features look OK such as concolorous mantle and nape but what about the breast (looks like a faded band there). It appears to have a vestigial breast band. Then there are some little yellow sub-ocular spots. hmmm ? What age then? 1cy?

 

So over to Birding Frontiers readers.

What say you?

Huge thanks to Mike Watson– his photos below

 

Wagtail taivana type Oman (1 of 1) Wagtail taivana type Oman 2 (1 of 1)

flava wagtail looking like a Green-backed taivana Khor Rori, Oman on 2 November 2015. Mike Watson.

Blyth’s Pipit on Utsira

Challenging ID – still present

Bjørn Ove Høyland in touch last week about this young, large(ish) pipit, just across the North sea from Britain. The bird is till present yesterday (17th October) on the ‘Fair Isle’ of Norway. Utsira.  Great guys and I had hoped to go and speak at the birders get togther n Utsira this autumn. Really sorry I could not make it. Dang!

_MG_0834_mongolpip

What can you see in the photos?

There’s a challenge. There always is with Blyth’s and Richards’ Pipits. Has this bird got pro- Blyth’s features? Is it identifiable? Maybe you can even check out our pages in the new WINTER book on Blyth’s and Richards’ Pipits!

They don’t really need my waffle.  I have to say this looks very Blyth’s. The bird has the nice slightly depressed upper mandible and more dagger/ pointed bill. Lovely evenly streaked crown, shortish supercilium not the length and breadth of many Richard’s. The flanks are well coloured and the hind claw looks rather decurved and about the right length. The tail does not look especially long.

The juvenile median coverts are not especially telling- a tad less compact and squarish than some Blyth’s which can be quite a good mimic of the adult pattern.

I don’t see anything in plumage and structure against it Blyth’s – indeed the photos show a bird that looks like one.

_MG_0834_mongolpip _MG_0787_mongolpip _MG_0705_mongolpip

Call.

Thankfully the bird called. It was heard by the guys on Utsira to give a ‘chip’ call many time. I can hear the call OK on the recording. Blyth’s do produce intermediate calls between the chip and the Yellow Wagtail psh-oo call. I recorded some last year on the Wakefield bird… so there is variety in the sound of the ‘chip’. This seems to fit the bill.

Have a listen

 

I can’t access (to make the links) to my own SoundCloud account, but you can listen to the recordings of the Wakefield Blyth’s Pipit giving both the ‘chip’ call and the ‘pssh-oo’ call by click HERE and just scroll a wee bit.

And this is well worth a very quick watch. A video of the bird clearly calling as it flies up. Thanks to Atle Grimbsy who sent a link. CLICK HERE.

These always help me increase my learning.

Pechora Pipit, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, emotions and friends

Difficult is not Impossible

Known for- well since I started birding as A 'Shetland Speciality. The moniker still sticks. Away from the Northern Isles, Pechora Pipits remains extremely difficult to see in Britain. We saw one on our first day on Shetland.. of course ;)

Known for- well since I started birding as A ‘Shetland Speciality. The moniker still sticks. Away from the Northern Isles, Pechora Pipits remains extremely difficult to see in Britain. We saw one on our first day on Shetland.. of course 😉

30th September 2015. Waking up in the early hours at R and A’s was special. Always is, but especially today. After yesterday journey north form Flamborough, I passed through something. I pass through the moment two ears ago at York Station where unbeknownst to me the sharp pain in my back at the time on lifting a suitcase awkwardly was a vertebrae collapsing.  A cancerous tumor had eroded my bone tissue. Obviously my life changed forever at that point. but it didn’t need to define me. It took several months to diagnose but I spoke to that situation yesterday. I stared back at myself and spoke to the cancer of two years earlier and very emphatically declared. ” You will not define me!”

Coming back to Shetland has many times seemed impossible and impractical. Thankfully difficult is not the same as impossible. I genuinely could not have had a more special journey with Sharon. Felt like a was living in high-definition all the way. Now I wish for her an extra special holiday while remembering that she is not a birder!

Yoav’s enthusiasm has been infectious and his humility at wanting to join us for this trip and being so patient around my annoying and frustrating unpredictability has been so gracious. R and A and B and V have paved the way, without them…

Keep and eye on Yoav’s blog, Nubian Nightjar for better pics and story line.

So here we begin. Roger’s garden stumped up  three Yellow -browed Warblers and Chiffchaff. As we ringed the Yellow-broweds, they called that lovely less familiar monosyllabic call. 60 PInk-feet Geese flew over south. We were here! Now to thoroughly engage and enjoy 🙂

Yellow-browed Warblers at Virkie by Martin Garner

Yellow-browed Warblers at Virkie by Martin Garner

With a supposed relaxed morning planned to rest little and sort some details I was chuffed to bits for Yoav when, in taking the walk from Paul’s to Roger’s he found this Blyth’s Reed Warbler. BOOM! Welcome to Shetland 🙂

Blyth's Reed Warbler, Toab by Yoav Perlman

Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Toab by Yoav Perlman

The day was already changing. Will, Sharon and I drove to see Yoav’s bird.  A really smart clean Blyth’s Reed Warbler together with more Yellow-browed acolytles. We then headed north to Lerwick to ‘get organised’. That was until Timmy Jones of Spurn picked up a pod of Killer Wales heading north. Headless chicken mode ensued but to no avail. A couple of Otter were lovely though.

The main afternoon slot had to go to the Pechora out west at Norby. With some serendipity we did see it well and I managed  some OK shots.

Here it’s wet, may just have ben washing in the burn:

Pechora Pipit 3 (1 of 1)

a little drier on the edge of some Canary Reed Grass.

Shetland Stormer!Pechora Pipit 4 (1 of 1)Pechora Pipit 6 (1 of 1)

A drake Scaup on Loch Norby invited a quick check for the Nearctic taxon… unrecorded in Europe. However the vermiculation pattern looked very Palearctic. Whooped Swans flew over and life was good!

scaup (1 of 1) whoopers (1 of 1)

Yellow-browed Warblers remained inescapable:

Yellow browed warbler 1 (1 of 1)

 

We called by a place named Cot and Ian and Yoav managed v brief views of the Arctic Warbler. Me? just pinching myself as we head back to the loveliest lady in the world.

and err… can’t resist another

Pechora 7 (1 of 1)

 

 

 

Stejneger’s Stonechat already in the Western Palearctic..?

Shetland’s next birds..?

Blogging from a train bound for Shetland with Mrs G. and Mr Perlman. Rory and Will have re-found the Pechora out on the west side (THIS bird). And the PG Tips are Quendale was duff (Duff is a new word for Yoav – he didn’t get that one :). He did though notice Jari’s blog post.

Oof! Has a young female Stejneger’s Stonechat already made it to Finland by late September? Looks that way! And they have at least one if not two Blyth’s PIpit’s – only the second record for Finland in September. Wow. Read more on Jani Vastamäki’s BLOG here.

Maybe this is some of the flavour for Shetland in the next few days…

To me the plumage tones above and about the head pattern (there is some weird black staining above the eye and on crown) and especially the rump colour and very pro-Stejneger’s Stonechat and seems well away from typical maurus. I suspect it is a Stejneger’s as Yoav does and I bet Jani does.

saxmau_1nsaxmau9n

 

and really early Blyth’s Pipit(s) to go with it…  Something interesting is going on for birders in Shetland me thinks. OO…that’s where we are going to be tonight! Sat in Riddington Towers supping single malt, ready for the assault tomorrow.

And can’t resist that the species are showcased in books in the Challenge Series. The Stejneger’s Stonechat in AUTUMN and the tricky Blyth’s Pipit in WINTER. Let’s hope they get further testing!

 

Anthus5

Blyth’s Pipit by Jani- very early and maybe some Shetland bound.

MORE  more on Jani Vastamäki’s BLOG here.