I was just on my return walk along Lordship Lane when I decided to spend
some time searching the flooded fields for any potential Water Pipits.
There were several flocks of Linnet, Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail using
the floods to feed in the margins.
After around half an hour I picked up on a very pale bird around 100
yards away but something spooked it and it took to the skies before I had
chance to ID it. On watching the birds in flight I couldn’t see any
pipits amongst the 50 or so birds flying around, in fact they all looked
like wagtails. The birds split into 3 separate flocks and each one went
I then spent another half hour searching until I relocated the bird,
still at distance, but clearly it was a wagtail. The wind was buffeting
and the light was poor but I could clearly make out a grey upper-body
and whitish underbody and two distinct wing bars, jet black legs and a
yellow tingeing to the under-tail. Seconds later the whole flock took to
the air and flew towards number 6 tank. I just managed to get a few
record photos before they took off.
I remember reading that any grey and white wagtail in winter needs close
scrutiny since there is always a possibility that it could be an eastern
yellow wagtail. Having sought the opinions of a number of local experts
the general view is that this is an overwintering or very early migrant
Yellow Wagtail. Either way an exceptional record for this time of year
and it brightened up months of lockdown birding on the marshes!
Observer and images: Paul Miller.