I believe current taxonomy tends to consider Black-backed Wagtail as a subspecies of White Wagtail, so the species (barring arguments about that taxonomic decision) is not in question.
As to the subspecies of White Wagtail, this bird has a clear black line from the beak through the eye and back to the gray nape. As such, I think that gives us a choice of Motacilla alba ocularis ("Swinhoe's Wagtail" or "East Siberian Wagtail") or M. a. lugens ("Black-backed Wagtail")
The bird in Fall City has pretty clear and obvious wing bars, which tends to point to ocularis. It is also appears completely gray on the back, nape, and crown, which also would point to ocularis. The breast has quite an extensive black bib, which may point more towards lugens.
I'd love to see some photos from closer up - scope views are way better than no photos at all, but plumage details are not terribly easy to make out.
But I'm leaning towards M. a. ocularis.
We'll see what the WBRC decides. Anyone with photos should submit them to the WBRC, or post them to eBird with notes and forward the checklist to the WBRC.
Very nice bird!!!
== Michael Hobbs == www.marymoor.org/birding.htm == <BirdMarymoor...>
-----Original Message----- From: <amk17...> Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2018 7:12 PM To: <Tweeters...> Subject: [Tweeters] Wagtail id question
I was fortunate to observe and listen to flight calls of the wagtail today. Thank you Logan Searl!!
And I took a few really bad photos; however I am having a little trouble convincing myself that this is a white wagtail and not a black-backed. But this is my first wagtail sp and the pics and the descriptions just don't seem to match, fully, a white wagtail.
It appears to be a first winter (or non-breeding if white wagtail) adult female. In my photos I do not see dark bases below the white median coverts but the bars appear thin. Of interest, Logan pointed out yellow at the base of the bill when viewed through the scope (just visible in some photos). The flight call was clearly a chiswick or a jijik.
Just wondering if everyone is confident on the id. I'll try to post photos on flicker later and share the link but they are not great. Hopefully others have better photos and videos.