Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava flavissima

Annual to frequent passage migrant

 

The striking, bright lemon males usually appear from mid-Apr but sadly most birds here are recorded as passing straight overhead. Of more concern is that the 50000 or so territories in Britain have suffered a 39% decline over 25 years to 1996 and it has contracted its range away from the SouthWest. The earliest to return from Afrotropical wintering grounds is one 29 Mar 1990 with the next three on 11 Apr 1977. Infrequently ones and twos pass overhead until early-May with higher counts of 16 on 29 Apr 1989 and six 17 Apr 1983, 3 May 1980 & 28 Apr 1979; 20 bird-days on 11 dates 19 Apr to 15 May 1998 is the best passage to date. Records abruptly cease from early-May and the only later records are singles 15 May on 1986, 88 and 1998. An unusual occurrence were two remaining on site 6 - 19 May 1991.

 

Unrecorded late-May to early-July the earliest to return in autumn are singles 10 July 1993, 20 & 23 July 1989 and one 22 July 1995. Mid to late-Aug through to mid to late-Sept sees the majority of the autumn passage with max counts of 9 on 2 Sept 1994, 8 on 28 Aug 1981 and 7 Sept 1985. 20 bird-days on 11 dates 12 Aug to 5 Oct 1994 was the best autumn passage in recent years. Early-Oct records are scarce but very late individuals include singles 26 Oct 1987, 2 Nov 1963, 7 Nov 1969 and 12 - 14 Nov 1967. Many years ago the reedbeds of the reserve held an autumn roost, counts include 20 in Sept 1941, 27 on 11 Sept 1975 and 50 on 25 Aug 1980. The period 1981 - 1999 had 238 bird-days, 105 in spring and 133 in autumn, an average of 12.5 per annum.

 

Table 186: half-monthly total individuals 1981 - 1999

Mnth

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

Date

29th

-15

- 30

- 15

- 31

- 15

- 30

- 15

- 31

- 15

- 31

- 15

- 30

- 15

- 31

Indv.s

1

2

70

31

0

0

0

1

3

3

48

51

19

7

1

 

Table 187: seasonal and annual total individuals 1980 - 1999

Year

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

Spr

12

2

2

15

3

1

3

2

9

21

Aut

58

9

3

6

2

24

2

10

4

9

TOTAL

70

11

5

21

5

25

5

12

13

30

 

Year

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

Spr

3

2

5

2

-

5

1

8

20

1

Aut

11

9

-

1

20

5

2

9

1

6

TOTAL

14

11

5

3

20

10

3

17

21

7