29 March, 2014

White Wagtails, Wheatears & Garganeys- that's Grimley!

After giving in to the painful Saturday morning phone alarm, I made it to Grimley in time to greet the first two Wheatears of the season as they dropped onto the Pits. Unfortunately, they come a day after Steve Gale ended his renowned 'Who can post the most gratuitous photos of posing Wheatears on their blog before they get bored?' competition, which is a bit of a pain, but I'm not deterred...

Wheatear perched on a fence post. I know, I'm original.

Grimley veteran Mike Bourne turned up, and we went looking for the pair of Garganey found yesterday on a small reservoir nearby. After a bit of searching, both birds (including a drake) showed distantly as they slept on the distant bank- Grimley seems to be the prime location for this species in Worcestershire, so with any luck there will be a few more chances for better views before the end of spring. 

Back at the Camp Lane Pits, a rather stunning male White Wagtail- the first of the season- was feeding with its commoner British relatives on the north-east scrape, providing a nice opportunity to compare plumage features between the two subspecies. 

White Wagtail (ssp. alba) on the Pits this morning.

Wagtail rump montage- left and centre show the pale rump on today's White Wagtail. Compare that with the dark rump of the right hand Pied Wagtail (and very convincing White Wagtail look-alike) from the same place last Wednesday.

It was a productive morning, migrants or no migrants, with 6 species of wader noted. Bar the usual Gadwall, a few Teal and a solitary Shoveler, duck numbers have taken the expected plunge though.

Sand Martins are still whizzing about in numbers, often appearing in large groups to feed over the Pits before disappearing again. This group stopped for a rare breather on the busy, dog-walker infested causeway.

I hadn't come across Hare in Grimley until this morning- several were chasing each other about in a field opposite Camp Lane. 


Ashley Beolens said...

Excellent images to show how to tell pied and white wagtails apart, a really useful ID feature.

Steve Gale said...

There's always next year Bill for 'Wheatear' glory. Cracking little patch you've got there!

Liam said...

I've just had a wagtail that looked very like your pied wagtail. Your id tips were very useful for eliminating white wagtail.

Billy Dykes said...

Glad I could help :)