Today I went down to Mogan for a few hours. I started in the south where I checked the reed beds. A singing Reed Warbler and a Cetti’s Warbler were present with lots of Reed Bunting, some Marsh Harriers and 10 species of shorebirds including Black-tailed Godwit. 6 Common Cranes were feeding on a field nearby and the number of Great White Egrets has increased to about 20.
All of a sudden I saw a weird structure in the reeds (while I was driving north). I stopped and checked it. Nice, a Bittern was standing there – my first one in Turkey! I drove a little bit on and turned the car in order to take some photos – but in the mean time a Marsh Harrier made it withdraw to the reeds never to be seen again.
I then continued to one of my favourite spots – AND WHAT AN EXPLOSION. Wagtails and pipits everywhere – 500 or more foraging along a stream and on the fields. There were about the same number of Yellow and White Wagtails spiced up with a few Citrine Wagtails including some stunning males. There were also many Water Pipits in supreme summer plumage and a few Meadow Pipits.
After watching the scenario for about an hour I saw a bird… and I almost said the S…T word. Calcarata Citrine Wagtail has been seen in eastern Turkey before, so I always check the wagtails for funny stuff. A weird black-backed feldegg Yellow Wagtail was standing in front of me.
My first thought was a hybrid between Yellow Wagtail ssp. feldegg and Citrine Wagtail ssp. calcarata. At least that is where a feldegg hybrid could get a black back. It had a black head which excludes any pure Citrine Wagtails right away. The deep black upper back and wingbars could suggest Citrine Wagtail ssp. calcarata. But as Yann Kolbeinsson has commented on facebook it seems to lack any other obvious influence from Citrine Wagtail. So it could be a melanistic feldegg Yellow Wagtail after all.
But no matter what it is it was quite an exciting moment to find this fellow and it really was a stunner.
On the way home (I had a date with my wife celebrating that our next child, who is due in september, is a boy) I saw a Short-toed Snake-eagle flying over the road. A nice way of ending a few exciting hours in the field.