Explosion!

Male Citrine Wagtail

Male Citrine Wagtail

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.

Common Cranes

Common Cranes

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.

Sombrowskii-type Yellow Wagtail

Dombrowskii-type Yellow Wagtail

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.

Coutellii Water Pipit

Coutellii Water Pipit

Coutellii Water Pipit

Coutellii Water Pipit

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.

Feldegg Yellow Wagtail

Feldegg Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail of some sort

Domprowskii-type Yellow Wagtail

Another Yellow Wagtail of some sort

Another Yellow Wagtail of some sort (flava’ish)

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.

Black-backed Yellow Wagtail

Black-backed Yellow Wagtail

Black-backed Yellow Wagtail

Black-backed Yellow Wagtail

Black-backed Yellow Wagtail

Black-backed Yellow Wagtail

Black-backed Yellow Wagtail

Black-backed Yellow Wagtail

But no matter what it is it was quite an exciting moment to find this fellow and it really was a stunner.

Citrine Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail and White Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail

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.

Short-toed Snake-eagle

Short-toed Snake-eagle

The male Marsh Harrier that costed me a Bittern photo

The male Marsh Harrier that costed me a Bittern photo

Silas Olofson

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3 thoughts on “Explosion!

  1. Hey Silas, would you mind telling me where you found the Citrine W.? They are Turkish ticks for me. Thanks.

  2. Hi Kingfisher!

    The Citrine Wagtails were seen south of Mogan. If you go down from Gölbaşı on the Haymana road just after a Turkuaz-station you will find a small and very bad paved road going to the southeast. Follow this road for about 2 km and you will have a wetland to your right and a stream draining it to the left. I found all the wagtails along the stream and adjacent fields.

    Silas

  3. Hey Silas,

    I went birding at that place today at 16:30-17:30 (it’a bit late but doesn’t really matter during migration). I saw numerous waders and garganey and c.200 White Wagtails with a few feldegg and superciliaris Yellow Wagtails. No Citrine Wagtail unfortunately:( I will try to visit there again this week (in the morning). Hope to see it!

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