Last Monday and Tuesday morning, before work, I focused on the channel between the Red River Island and the town.
This channel present important seasonal water level fluctuations, accentuated by the hydroelectric activities upstream (the Son La dam). It is definitely a good spot for Citrine Wagtail migrants/vagrants, both in autumn and spring, and even in the middle of the winter (January 2011 for example).
Actually, the water level is low, and the exposed muddy banks are attracting waders and wagtails. In 2 or 3 months, this place will be completely dry, only suitable for Paddyfield Pipits or Little Ringed Plovers.
So, Monday and Tuesday morning I bumped into some Citrine Wagtails, three of which were 1st winter birds.
A good occasion for a beginner like me to examine closely the differences with the (Eastern) Yellow Wagtail juvenile (can be useful when back to Europe !).
Juv. Citrine Wagtails diagnostic features:
- Upperparts pure grey (Yellow : duller grey wash greenish/olive)
- Striking double white wing-bar
- Broad white supercilium continuing down and surrounding the ear-coverts
- Pale forehead
- White undertail-coverts
- Jizz ! Citrine bulkier, with a rounded head; Yellow much slender.
For comparison, I added 2 pics of Yellow W. (taxa macronyx probably if I refer to the adults I saw around) shot last year, at the same place.
This young Citrine W. (on the right, adult on the left) shows no pale border behind the ear-coverts, but all the other diagnostic features are OK.
I also saw a Pied Kingfishers party, 3 males and 1 female (regurgitating pellet). Nice to see again those little buggers !