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Interesting flava Wagtail at Carn Friars

21st May 2022

When I first discovered this dark headed flava wagtail, at first I thought it was a Grey-headed but shortly after looking at my BOC shots, I thought that maybe it was probably a Black-headed Wagtail hybrid?

Flava wagtails, that hybridise, can be a nightmare in the field and are never straight forward. Yesterday, I was given a few hours off in morning, so I thought. At 08.40, I was in the seaward hide and the fem/1st summer male Golden Oriole, that’s been in the area for a few days now, flew from the Sallows to the right of the hide, towards Carn Friars. This was followed by a very raspy flava wagtail heading east also towards the latter site. My goal was to try and find the wagtail. It was nearly an hour later that I relocated it in the top horse paddock at Carn Friars. Here it showed well and I immediately fired off some shots, just in case it flew off. At first I thought that I had a possible Black-headed Wagtail but the grey nape was bugging me. After ten minutes of observing it, now distantly, I thought it was a Grey-headed Wagtail and put it out on the WhatsApp group. Then I got the call from work telling me that I had to get some luggage down to the quay and I only had thirty minutes to do it in! Are you kidding me? I ran like the devil to my wagon, drove to the castle, got the luggage and raced down to the quay in record time with still ten minutes to spare! I was just getting my breath back when I suddenly realised that I forgot the guests! Oh well. It was while at the quay that I had a look at the BOC shots and started thinking that maybe it is a Black-headed hybrid. I had a short chat with Andy Holden and by my description over the phone of the wagtail and him making out from what he could from the four BOC photos I sent him, he questioned that it could possibly be a Black-headed, probably from the edge of it’s Western range with a Blue-headed influence? lt was decided to put it out on the group, with the same four photos attached that I had taken, as a Black-headed Wagtail hybrid ‘Any Ideas?’. I was now busy back at work and left it to the other birders to throw opinions at the wagtail and to go and look at it. It started a talking point on the group throughout the rest of the day. From Grey-headed or hybrid, Black-headed hybrid and a possible Black-headed Wagtail. As the wagtail stuck to the paddock area throughout, better images were uploaded on the group and a stunning image from Martin Goodey showed a lot more detail and it came across as almost a different bird. If compared to my BOC shots I put out earlier. Everyone agreed that it had a very raspy call but also gave a Western flava type call on occasions. When I first had it over east, it was too windy to catch it on the recorder and all the time that I observed it in the paddock shortly afterwards, it was silent. We had got the images and now we needed a recording of the wagtail.

Photos in different light can be deceiving as the above image appears to be a possible Black-headed Wagtail while the top four images appear as a possible Grey-headed Wagtail

So you can have a guess what I was doin this morning when I had done my first taxi? No problem in relocating the wagtail that was now in the lower horse paddock at Carn Friars. It was very vocal and I recorded it both on the recorder and the mobile. And guess what? I had to return back to work but as I was approaching my wagon, I got another call telling me that they don’t need me anymore and I didn’t have to come back until mid-day! Ideal! As I was only a few minutes walk away from a Firecrest heard yesterday, I decided to go and have a listen at the entrance to Holy Vale. No sign of the latter species but instead, a male Golden Oriole was fluting in the Elms and I got a few seconds recording it. After this, of note all I could add were a single Spotted Flycatcher at Telegraph and a total of 7 Wheatear in various areas. The wagtail stuck around and folks were still undecided if it was a Grey-headed Wagtail or what the main man, Holden, had already mentioned yesterday, possibly Black-headedxBlue-headed Wagtail. Or could it be somethin else? No good asking me because I haven’t got a clue. Will we ever know???

Shortly after the wagtail was found, Images and recordings were circulated to various Dutch birders and also Magnus Robb, thanks to James Lidster. It’s thought not to be a Grey-headed Wagtail and more likely towards a Black-headed Wagtail from the south with some sort of intergrade, possibly Blue-headed Wagtail. The general consensus seems to be that there is some “southern” wagtail in there somewhere. Below is Magnus Robb’s feedback on the recordings.

The probable Black-headedxBlue-headed Wagtail at Carn Friars. It’s still rare for this hybrid to turn up in the UK and interesting to think where it might have come from? One thing we can all agree on, it’s a cracker!

At various sites, altogether I had up to 7 Wheatear

It looks like the Rose-coloured Starling from two days ago has turned up on St Martins or is it a different individual? I did see a lot of Starling today, including a few families with my first juveniles of the year at four sites. Back in the garden in the last week I’ve had families of Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collard Dove and a single Robin already.

Shireen Abu Akleh: British MPs express outrage over Palestinian journalist’s killing

What about the 17 year old Palestinian boy that was shot 12 times today by Israeli Occupation Forces? Where’s the outrage? Expressing and condemnation from the globe does nothing. We need action in sanctions and boycotting Israel like we have done with Putin’s Russia. British MPs spoke out against the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the attack on her funeral procession. Several demanded the UK government take immediate action against the Israeli government.

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Author: Kris Webb 10

I love to throw sticks at trees! I also can’t get enough of music! I also blog about my observations on Scilly and wherever I go around the world and what’s sometimes on my mind. I’ve visited over 30 countries and some more times than once. I’ve worked and volunteered in Nepal, USA, Peru, Gambia, Costa Rica, 3x Australia, and refugee camps in Palestine The profile image is one I took while in Palestine of a brave Israeli holding high the Palestinian flag in front of the Israeli Offensive Forces during protests in Belin

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