Sunday, 18 March 2012

Race row?

A quiet weekend with Saturdays' only birds of note being a couple of Balearic shearwaters. Visible migration turned up a couple of LBJ's that remained unidentified due to distance and sunlight in my face. Today was a little more interesting- my early morning sea watch turned up 2 gannets, 2 great skuas, 3 Cory's and the usual larus suspects. Two passerines briefly boarded the ship- a robin and a rather splendid yellow wagtail which alerted me to its' presence with a nice overhead flight call. It landed on the most inaccessible part of the ship, hence the distant photos- grrrr.

Now, I don't intend going off on one, concerning the identification of the numerous races of these splendid birds (because it has all been covered elsewhere) except to say that initially I thought this was a 'thunbergi'. However, looking at it closely it has a white, sub-moustachial stripe (admittedly not too apparent on my wretched photos) and this I believe is a characteristic of the 'cinereocapilla' race found in Italy? I readily admit to struggling with the finer I/D points of wagtail races and would welcome any input on this. When all's said and done it's always a pleasure to see these birds as they are scarce in the north and as I have not seen one on my local patch these birds are a bit of a treat!

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