Yesterday afternoon a birder with a camera was walking along the bluff above the Colorado River in Roy Guerrero Park in Austin when a little gray, black and white bird landed on the gravel below him. Fortunately he recognized it as a White Wagtail, got photos and entered it into eBird. But word didn't get out till last night and fortunately I saw the post on the ABA Rarities Facebook group right before I went to bed. Well this is significant because this White Wagtail is the first to ever be seen in Texas.
So I got up super early, drove 325 miles and arrived at the site a little after 10 am. A couple dozen birders were there watching the White Wagtail below them about fifty yards away. I saw a few I've known for many years and got looks through their scopes before I could get mine on the bird. This was not a lifer for me. I saw one back in the 90's at the famous Moon Glow Dairy manure pile near Monterrey California. But this was a much more attractive, better marked bird in a much more aesthetically pleasing environment.
This individual seems to be a young male of the ocularis subspecies from eastern Siberia. A small number of them also breed across the Bering Strait on the Seward Peninsula. Occasionally one will be found wintering on the Pacific Coast. White Wagtails have even been recorded in a few inland states and it is a species we thought might show up in Texas some day. You gotta love the serendipity of birding!
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