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Geographical ranges of wagtail races certainly wouldn’t be my first choice if I was ever to have to choose a specialist topic for mastermind. Hence why this wagtail has got me asking a few questions.
This autumn has been amazing for Yellow Wagtails. Steve and myself have ringed over 260 though we could have ringed more if the weather had been on side. None of those have given us any reason to think they weren’t flavissima (the British ones) except this one. Blue headed Wagtails (the nominate race ‘flava’) must pass through the UK in autumn but identification is very tricky indeed. In fact it’s probably not possible in the field unless its an adult. I’ve also not read anything on this subject regarding ID of autumn birds in the hand which suggests that it’s also very difficult in the hand. This bird on closer inspection appears to have a blueish grey colour coming through on its forehead. The bird also stood out as having a very bold supercillium unlike all the other Yellow Wagtails from last nights catch. This is shown on the photo below.
If anyone could offer any thoughts I’d be keen to hear them even if you think I am talking rubbish! There are still wagtails roosting at Abbotsbury so we’ll keep trying to catch this week and see what else we get.