[CT Birds] Fwd: Possible White Wagtail at Stratford Point late this afternoon 9/13

peeplo at aol.com peeplo at aol.com
Mon Sep 13 23:15:26 EDT 2010











Ok Folks. Here's the scoop. Twan Leenders, Paul Fusco, and I were standing at Stratford Point near the buildings waiting for the Kite to return, when we heard an odd double-note chup, chup, or chip, chip, sort of raspy but loud call coming from behind us. It was not the sound of any North American bird that I recognized, and we turned to look as a slight larger than pipit-sized bird came over the building (it came in off the Long Island Sound) flying rather pipit-like but with longer intervals between dips, and flew right over our heads above the trees. In silhouette, it was fairly slim with a long square-tipped tail that was white below. The bird looked dark gray and white in flight and when it turned it had a dark body and black and white on the head. My impression was the black was on the crown and behind the eye and possibly on the throat. Twan saw black and white on the head, as well. One of the most striking and obvious things about the bird was the long undulating roller coaster flight pattern which both Twan and I noted. Our impression was that it flew and sounded like some form of White Wagtail. Several subspecies of White Wagtail occur throughout Europe, North Africa and SE Asia. I have seen and heard White Wagtails during my travels in Europe and Twan, being from The Netherlands, is quite familiar with this species as it is a common summer resident where he has lived much of his life. 

 
After it flew over our heads, the bird dived into the grass near the entrance to Stratford Point, but we were unable to relocate it.  While searching the neighborhood adjacent to the facility we found a white budgie with a flock of starlings. This bird showed a tapered white tail and flew fast and straight without undulating in flight and looked very bright white, although photos showed it to have some pale gray bars on the back and face. It was later relocated by Frank Mantlik on nearby Short Beach. After looking through videos of both white wagtails and budgies, and listening to many recording of both, we could find none showing a budgie undulating in flight - they fly fast and straight with wings below the horizontal, nor do they make a regular & repeated chip chip, and we found several recordings of white wagtail that matched the call we heard. Wagtails are a bird that enjoys half-open country, lawns, beaches and other open areas where it hunts for insects. We feel it's worth checking the dunes, rocky beaches, lawns and fields in area, including Short and Long Beach, Siskorsky airport and the around Stratford Point. Let's hope we can refind it and get a photo. Look for a boldly marked black-and-white bird that constantly wags its tail as it chases insects (hence its common name), and look for its distinctive undulating flight. I haven't had a chance to check, but there are at least a couple of eastern records, including one, I believe, from Virginia.  Respectfully.  Frank Gallo 
 
 
 



 
After it flew over our heads, the bird dived into the grass near the entrance to Stratford Point, but we were unable to relocate it.  While searching the neighborhood adjacent to the facility we found a white budgie with a flock of starlings. This bird showed a tapered white tail and flew fast and straight without undulating in flight and looked very bright white, although photos showed it to have some pale gray bars on the back and face. It was later relocated by Frank Mantlik on nearby Short Beach. After looking through videos of both white wagtails and budgies, and listening to many recording of both, we could find none showing a budgie undulating in flight - they fly fast and straight with wings below the horizontal, nor do they make a regular & repeated chip chip, and we found several recordings of white wagtail that matched the call we heard. Wagtails are a bird that enjoys half-open country, lawns, beaches and other open areas where it hunts for insects. We feel it's worth checking the dunes, rocky beaches, lawns and fields in area, including Short and Long Beach, Siskorsky airport and the around Stratford Point. Let's hope we can refind it and get a photo. Look for a boldly marked black-and-white bird that constantly wags its tail as it chases insects (hence its common name), and look for its distinctive undulating flight. I haven't had a chance to check, but there are at least a couple of eastern records, including one, I believe, from Virginia.  Respectfully.  Frank Gallo 
 
 
 






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