Yellow Wagtail at WTP (Victoria)

To: "'Peter Shute'" <>, "'Birding Aus'" <>
Subject: Yellow Wagtail at WTP (Victoria)
From: "Paul Dodd" <>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2009 09:53:21 +1100
...And I have removed dud photos from our collections and added cropped

People have asked how and where we saw the bird, so here is the story.

We were driving along the track on the north bank of Little River at about
12:50pm, heading from the ford and Walshes lagoon to the coast (and
ultimately heading towards the Borrow Pits along the coastal track). As we
approached the white gateposts opposite the hide we noticed a yellow/grey
bird coming out of the undergrowth in the cleared area immediately to the
right of the rightmost gatepost (the cleared area is about 3-4 square
metres). Other than the colour, the first thing I noticed was the tail
bobbing up and down and both Ruth and I immediately called, "Yellow
Wagtail!" - we're familiar with the species, and also with Grey Wagtail from
our recent time on the Malaysian Peninsula and Borneo.

Ruth and Peter managed to get some blurry shots through the windscreen
before the bird took off to the north. We followed it with our bins and saw
it land in some saltbush. We parked the car and headed off by foot to scour
the area, however we had no luck. We then decided to drive 100m down the
road (to the east) and then back again. On returning to the gate area we saw
the wagtail on the track about 30m to the west of the gate. We managed to
get out and get some photos before the bird flew into bushes on the south
side of the track and we lost it. Ruth and Peter waited by the gate while I
walked the bank of the river heading east. I flushed the bird and it flew
along the bank to the east, but out of sight of Ruth and Peter. We looked
for a little longer but no luck. At that point it occurred to us that it
didn't seem upset by the car, but was disturbed by us being on foot. So we
did what all sensible people would have done at that point - we got in the
car and had lunch! Sure enough as we were finishing our sandwiches the bird
appeared again on the track between the car and the gate. This time it
allowed us some decent photos before heading off to the north again. I've
attached an annotated map to my collection of photos.

All up we had about four good views of the bird over an hour and ten
minutes, with photos from various angles.

We were initially sure that it was a Yellow Wagtail, however we had some
brief doubts after looking at the first blurry pictures - and considered it
might have been a non-breeding male Grey Wagtail. Citrine Wagtail was never
considered as we had clearly seen the grey head and white supercilium. By
the time we had our second and third views, and could see the olive/yellow
back it was clear that the bird was definitely a Yellow Wagtail.

Paul Dodd
Docklands, Victoria

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Shute  
Sent: Sunday, 22 February 2009 7:49 AM
To: Paul Dodd; 'Birding Aus'
Subject: Yellow Wagtail at WTP (Victoria)

I've just added a composite photo to my collection, showing the site and
where we saw the bird each time:

Peter Shute

On Behalf Of Paul Dodd 
Sent: Saturday, 21 February 2009 8:43 PM
To: 'Birding Aus'
Subject: Yellow Wagtail at WTP (Victoria)

Hi everyone,

Photos of the Yellow Wagtail (race tschutschensis) seen by Peter Shute, Ruth
Woodrow and myself are available at:

Ruth's photos -

My photos -

And as Peter has already posted:

Peter's photos -

Please note that these photos have been uploaded straight from the camera to
Flickr (in Ruth's and my cases) or Picasa (in Peter's case). No attempt has
been made to remove blurred, out-of-focus or other poor shots at this stage,
and no attempt has been made to process the images.

Paul Dodd

Docklands, Victoria


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