Posts Tagged ‘Yellow Wagtail


What colours a head

Quite a few flava wagtails moving through at the moment. Several Grey and Blue headed scattered around the cattle in the fields down the lane. This Grey headed (thunbergi) came as close for me as it was going to, before skipping off through the flowers.

A regular site for them at West Runton. I photographed them here last year


Bit of a Wag

Even with the lockdown we knew this morning was going to be busy up here on the coast. Swimmers, dog walkers and birders were all going to be out in numbers. They were. We thought we’d try and avoid the crowds and be back in inside before it all kicked off. As we walked down to the sea we heard of a Grey headed Wagtail that had been among the cattle. Several yellows but no Grey headed for us. A Whinchat that landed nearby as we were looking was a bonus. A fortuitous message from friend Ian atop Granborough Hill told us to look south. We did and there was a Black Kite circling high above the hill. A good patch tick for me and a Brit tick for Tania.


The Secretary Bird of the marshes

It was raining Yellow Wagtails on Friday the 24th April. Birds were bouncing around almost every grassy field here on the coast. We heard of Blue Headed, Ashy Headed and Syke’s among them. Some rich yellow long legged males reminded me of miniature African Secretary Birds.

Yellow Wagtail


“Be a blue headed”

We’ve talked before on Letter from Norfolk about the complex family of the flava Wagtails. There are several subspecies and many intergrades. One such subspecies is the Blue headed Wagtail – always nice to see.

As Andy and I stood chewing the cud aside the local cattle paddock this week we heard a couple of Yellow Wagtails call as they flew over us. Before they landed among the cows I heard a half mumbled prayer offered up to the birding God by Andy … “be a blue headed, be a blue headed”. Sadly the prayer went unheard but Yellow Wags are still great birds.

Yellow Wagtail


Who knows?

We have talked about the variations of Yellow Wagtails before and it is a complicated group but a local bird on the hill last week got me taking a few photos. The potato field next to Falcon Cottage has been turning up a few Wheatears (ten together at the time of writing) and it was only a matter of time before Yellow Wagtails found it on their journey north.

The odd bird among three wasn’t a Blue headed. Blue headed are the continental variation (Motacilla flava flava) of our own Yellow Wagtail (M.f. flavissima) and have a wonderfully blue head with a white supercillium, a short sub ocular crescent to match and tiny white chin. It wasn’t a Channel Wagtail either. These are the hybrids of our own Yellow Wagtail and The Blue headed continental birds. The head was not the pale Wedgewood blue it should have been and the white on the throat extended far too far onto the breast. It wasn’t a Syke’s or any of the darker headed varieties either Spanish, Ashy headed, Grey headed or Black headed. What it was … was a very interesting bird. Perhaps best described as a white throated integrade?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Jun 2023


%d bloggers like this: