Saturday, November 17, 2012

14 Nov - 21 March -- CITRINE WAGTAIL in COMOX!!!

Update: still present March 21

Photos of the Comox wagtail have now been taken by several observers (18th Nov, am) and clearly show a first winter Citrine Wagtail! This bird was first found on Nov 14th by David and Adele Routledge and seen again and photographed on the 17th. Congratulations to the finders of this first Canadian and second North American Record, and thanks to members of the local birding community who initiated contact with the landowner to permit access to the site.

First winter Citrine Wagtail, Comox, 18th Nov 2012 (photo: Jeremy Gatten)

Diagnostic features supporting the identification include an overall pale and light grey bird with a lack of any olive or brown tones on the upperside. The absence of any breast markings, extensive white tips to the median and greater coverts forming two bold white wing bars, pale lores, a bold white supercilium and white undertail coverts are also useful for separating this bird from both 1st winter Yellow and White Wagtails. The most distinctive feature, however, is the "open" face pattern showing only slightly dark auriculars bordered posteriorly by a neat whitish crescent.

Direction to the site are as follows: From Courtenay, take 17th St heading east out of town. Cross the bridge and turn right. Continue towards Comox approximately 500m to the second dirt track on the left. The bird is being seen 100+m along this track beyond the the steel cable blocking vehicle access. Please note that this is private land and for those wishing to see the bird, permission has been granted to walk down the farm track but NOT to enter the property on the left side of the road. Please be considerate and respectful and park your vehicle responsibly.


  1. We also saw this Citrine Wagtail - it landed beside a puddle only 40 feet from us. To see some photos, go to:

    Rick Reeve

  2. The bird was still present this morning (24th). A Northern Shrike chased it several times. The up and down flight of the Wagtail compared to the direct flight of the shrike was great to watch.

  3. Thanks for the update Scott. How long can it fend off that shrike though...?

  4. My guess is that the closer it stays to the birders the longer it will last.

  5. Still there in the afternoon apparently but dodging Accipiters and shrikes! If you want to see this bird, don't delay!