martes, 10 de septiembre de 2013

Citrine Wagtail

 Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) with first winter Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola)

The post-breeding migration season is already underway, and along with the regular shorebirds, what I take to be a first winter Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola) has turned up in a partly-empty irrigation pond in Las Martelas (Los Llanos de Aridane). Seen for the first time on Sep 8, the bird was still present this evening, Sep 10.

The recently-published "Rare Birds of the Canary Islands" (Eduardo García-del-Rey & Francisco Javier García Vargas, Lynx Edicions, June 2013), gives a total of 6 records of Motacilla citreola on the Canaries: El Hierro 1, Tenerife 1, Fuerteventura 1, and Lanzarote 3. However, in early September this year, two more citrines were observed at the Tias golfcourse on the island of Lanzarote.

Despite the poor quality of the present photographs, several key identification features can be appreciated: the broad white wing bars, the pale eye-surround, the black legs, and the all black bill. Plumage on the upperparts is greyish, with no hint of olive-brown, as in immature Yellow Wagtail (M. flava).

As further evidence, this bird shows no hint of a black collar, as in the White Wagtail (M. alba), and also lacks yellow tones on the undertail-coverts, as in immature Yellow Wagtail (M. flava).

Any comments regarding identification of this bird would be appreciated: please email me at

This sighting will be submitted to the Spanish Rarities Committee in due course.

Other migrants currently found in Las Martelas include small numbers of:
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea), Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus), Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), and Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago).

Elsewhere on the island, I have seen solitary Dunlin (Calidris alpina), Sanderling (Calidris alba), Greenshank (Tringa nebularia ), and Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) at the Fuencaliente saltpans, and two Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) plus one Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) and a solitary Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)  at the seawater pools near the airport.