Yellow Wagtail report from Ocean Shores
halop at accessone.com
Fri Sep 15 13:17:13 PDT 2000
I just received the following report from Ron Simons who asked me to post it.
mailto:halop at accessone.com
>Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000 15:21:07 -0400
>From: "Ronald C. Simons" <Ronsimons at compuserve.com>
>Subject: One for the Records Committee
>Sender: "Ronald C. Simons" <Ronsimons at compuserve.com>
>To: Hal Opperman <halop at accessone.com>
>Damon Point, Ocean Shores. Seen Thursday, September 14, 2:30 PM
> On Sept. 14, Steve Caldwell and I were walking back along the road
>from the Damon Point pond towards the gate when a bird alighted briefly on
>the gravel a few feet in front of us, then flew up across the small berm
>separating the fields from the road and disappeared. All I saw was a long
>dark-brown tail with gleaming white outer tail feathers. The tail was not
> We quickly realized that this was something unusual, so we climbed
>the berm, where we saw the bird perched on a log about ten feet away. The
>bird saw us and flew off to stand on a stump about 20 feet away, where it
>remained for about a minute before flying off into the field, disappearing
>into the grass.
> On the stump, the bird was in clear, unobstructed view, in good
>light. It was roughly thrush-shaped, but had a more pointed bill and was
>much slimmer, longer tailed, and longer legged than any thrush. The long
>legs and long, dark tail were especially striking, and the bird was
>repeatedly raising and dropping that long tail. The bird was olive yellow
>above and pale yellow beneath, from throat to and including undertail
>coverts. It had a faint dark cheek, which gave the impression of a mask
>running through and back from the eye, and there were lighter yellow
>streaks on the wings. I had seen wagtails (Yellow, Grey, White, and "Pied")
>in Europe and immediately recognized it as a wagtail, probably a Yellow
>Wagtail. Steve, an experienced birder, immediately realized that it was
>different in shape and markings from any bird he'd previously seen.
> A look at the National Geographic Field Guide confirmed that this
>was probably a Yellow Wagtail, but the bird was lighter both above and
>below and less distinctly marked than those in the illustrations, which
>show only the breeding male, juvenile, and "immature" plumages. Immediately
>on arriving home I checked three European guides. Only the Brun and Singer
>"Hamlyn" guide showed the plumage we saw, which confirmed the
>identification as Yellow Wagtail and makes the bird apparently a female.
>The guide does not specify whether this duller plumage is that of a bird in
>primary or alternate plumage.
> We went back to the car, and with Sue Trevathan, went back to
>search for the bird so that she might see it also, but we could not
>relocate it. The point on the road that the bird was seen is approximately
>half-way between the gate and the turn-off to the pond.
> Ron Simons
> ronsimons at compuserve.com
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