Gray Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea


eBird Checklist S31772418
Westport pelagic--Offshore waters
Grays Harbor, Washington, United States
Search this location, Illustrated Checklist
Latitude and Longitude 46.9052, -124.5355 Map


Media notes

Observation details

Coordinates seen: 46.50.04, -124.52.01. I observed a passerine coming up the stern flying directly at the boat. The bird had an extremely long tail and I immediately knew this was a wagtail. At first the bird was back-lit so I couldn't get any color or pattern off of it; but I was drawn by how extremely long the tail was. As the bird flew over the boat, I was able to get the yellow color of the underparts in view and could see some pattern to the head with a pale throat. I quickly ran and grabbed my camera and shot off as many shots as I could get. It started flying back towards the boat as if it was about to land on it but turned around heading Northwest due to the many screaming birders ensuring everyone was getting on the bird. After the bird was out of view; we went to the stage of figuring out which species of wagtail we had just observed. We eliminated White Wagtail due to the fact that it was yellow bellied. We did not have any references to Siberian birds on the boat and we were far enough offshore that we couldn't get service to check online. We were discussing the differences between Citrine/Eastern Yellow/Gray with an English birder with experience with all (I've only seen a handful of either species). I sent out the photos when we got close enough to shore for cell phone data service to work and it was quickly confirmed as a Gray. Unbelievable!!! Photos in flight attached:.

Technical Information

Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Lens model
EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
Focal length
400 mm
Shutter speed
1/1600 sec
Flash did not fire, auto
Original file size
1500 x 1000

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