Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Yet another New Bird For Britain!!

Thanks to an identification query by Jon Hudson and a rapid interception by RBA's Stuart Piner, the birding fraternity was informed of its first-ever MASKED WAGTAIL last night, a male that had been present in and around Jon's Pembrokeshire garden since at least Sunday morning (27th November 2016). This incredible long-distant vagrant from Kazakhstan is seemingly on winter territory and is showing exceptionally well - favouring the rooftops and gardens of Croft Villas, in the picturesque, tranquil hamlet of Camrose, just NW of Haverfordwest (SatNav SA62 6JF). I and around 60 twitchers made the long journey this morning to SW Wales today and were afforded an excellent display, with the bird showing virtually non-stop. Jon's neighbour was particularly hospitable and invited many of us into his garden so that we could get better and more prolonged studies and were able to sound-record it. Other neighbours were equally as accommodating, especially a couple making tea & coffee for visitors, while the Neighbourhood Watch local police girls came over from Haverfordwest to see what all of the fuss was about!
Masked Wagtail breeds in Central Siberia, from Kazakhstan to NW Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan to NW China, and winters primarily in Northern India (Assam in particular). It is a pretty abundant species but has only reached the Western Palearctic on just 5 previous occasions, with the most recent photographed in Burgas (Bulgaria) in September 2015 and by the southern Dead Sea (Israel) on 23rd March 2016 (that country's third occurrence in fact).
As the UK400 Club/BBA follows the PSC principles, it recognises '7' of the 11 types of alba wagtail as morphologically distinct species -:
1) White Wagtail Motacilla alba
2) Pied Wagtail Motacilla yarellii
3) Moroccan Pied Wagtail Motacilla subpersonata
4) African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp
5) Masked Wagtail Motacilla personata
6) Chinese Amur/White-faced Wagtail Motacilla leucopsis
7) Kamchatka Pied Wagtail Motacilla lugens

The taxonomical position of other forms such as Swinhoe's, Hodgson's, Streak-eyed & Indian White remain unclear, vexing and more clinal in variation, with wader ranges of overlap and hybridisation

1 comment:

  1. Hi. Jon Hudson from Camrose here!! In case you haven't seen it please read the text of this post from Pembrokeshire Birds Blog.....
    Can all visiting birders please ONLY PARK IN THE FIELD AT FOLLY CROSS which has kindly been opened by Roger Mathias.  It is large, flat & dry (frozen mainly!).  It is also a very short, flat, walk from there to the wagtail's favourite haunts (less than 5 minutes).  Hopefully the map below makes it easy to find - there are several ways to reach Camrose but we suggest the simplest (& quickest) is to take the signs for Fishguard (A40) as you approach Haverfordwest from the east, avoiding the town, and as you pass Withybush Airport on the A40 towards Fishguard take the first signpost left to Camrose - the map takes you from there. And it goes without saying - respect the privacy of residents, smile and be nice to them, and keep the roads clear (especially if the bird goes back to the Chapel, the lane is narrow there).

    Good luck & enjoy!