Sadly I didn't have my 400mm lens with me on the day I spotted a Grey wagtail in the mud on the other side of a small lake. But this picture is good enough to identify it well. It's a good opportunity to point out some things about Wagtails in general.

You've no doubt seen the monochrome Pied wagtail doing its dipping and dashing, commonly seen in car parks. At the other end of the scale in colour as well as rarity is the Yellow wagtail, which is like our grey friend above but more yellow throughout. And that's the trick – to realise that Grey wagtails are in fact yellow, at least on the underside, but grey on top.

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  1. Isn’t it lovely? Are they resident in this country? I have seen Yellow Wagtails when in France but never here.

  2. According to the RSPB they are “found over most of the UK, with the exception of the Northern and western isles of Scotland.” That said there aren’t that many of them so I would imagine most people never see them. It’s probably only the second time I’ve ever seen one.

  3. Thank you for that reply Sam, sorry I took so long to get back!

  4. Never having seen a grey wagtail before, we had one in our garden last winter, in West Suffolk, almost daily for about 3 months. We have a small pond with a waterfall, which may have attracted him. He left our windows covered in muddy pecks as a momento. He arrived back again in December and got himself included in Birdwatch.

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