Friday, 9 December 2011

'pygmaea' Yellow Wagtail

I have just completed punching all of the autumn ringing data in. It was a great season with grand total of 4713 birds ringed and 814 recaptured. The species richness was also very good with 76 different species. During this season we controlled three birds with foreign ring from Hungary, Norway and Zambia - very nice result; during this period only one more passerine with foreign ring was controlled in Israel (!).
On the first day of winter I ringed this putative 'pygmaea' Yellow Wagtail. It was a first year female and struck me as being tiny. Wing length was 72mm and tail length 63mm, both measurements fit perfectly with this tiny race breeding in Egypt. Also plumage details are good - dark olive-green above, short and narrow supercilium and dark breast patches. Shirihai mentions in his book three previous records between 1986 and 1990, all from Eilat (two in winter). I will send this interesting record to some experts for a second opinion, and will post the final decision soon.