sparse winter visitor

Red-headed Bunting

Male: rufous-chestnut crown, throat, breast; olive-yellow back, streaked blackish; unmarked yellow rump; whitish wing-bars; yellow neck-sides, underbody below breast. Female: pale-brown above, streaked; yellowish rump. Highly gregarious winter visitor; huge numbers, frequently along with Black-headed; cause considerable damage to crops.

Water Pipit

Greyish dark-legged pipit. Prominent supercilia and pale lores. In breeding plumage grey head, browner back and plain pinkish-white underparts. In non-breeding plumage is lightly streaked below, greyer above. Less heavily streaked than Rosy and Red-breasted. Similar Buff-breasted is less streaked. Feeds in loose groups.

Eurasian Skylark

A large, streaked brown lark with a short crest. Similar to Oriental but obviously larger with clear, white outer tail feathers and trailing edge to wings. No rusty colouring in wings. Looks much whiter below with finer breast and flank streaking. Rather long wings and tail. Sexes similar.

Dark-throated Thrush

Characterised by even grey upperparts and wings with reddish-orange on sides of tail, which very noticeable in flight--from below the undertail can look completely orange. Adult male has red supercilium, throat and breast, grey upperparts, and whitish underparts. Female is similar to male, but has a white or buffish throat and blackstreaked malar stripe, and red of breast is a gorget of spotting. First-winter has white tips to greater coverts and pale-fringed tertials. First-winter male resembles adult female. First-winter female is less heavily marked, and has finely streaked breast and flanks; usually shows rufous wash to supercilium and throat and/or breast.

Montagu’s Harrier

Slender, medium-sized raptor, with dark grey head, breast, back and inner wing; a lighter grey on rest of wing and tail with black wing tips and narrow white rump. Black secondary bar and chestnut streaking on belly and underwing. Similar Pallid is pale grey with slim black wing-tips; larger Hen is grey with broad black wingtips. Females and immatures of all three are streaked brown and have owl-like faces and white rumps.

Pallid Harrier

Male: light grey upperparts, dark wedges on primaries, pale grey head and underbody; lacks black secondary bars. Female: distinctive underwing pattern; pale primaries, irregularly barred and lacking dark trailing edges. Immature male may display rusty breast band and juvenile facial markings.

Pallas’s Gull

A big, pale, deep-chested, long-winged gull with long-sloping forehead and strong black and orangetipped yellow bill. Breeding adult has black head and white eye rings. In non-breeders head turns dusky. Pale grey above with whiter outer wing and few black wing spots near tips. Immature browner but still pale and shows grey mantle and wing panel. Often solitary, but readily mixes with smaller gulls and terns. Scavenges fish waste and robs others for fish. Heavy buoyant heron-like flight.

Sociable Lapwing

Has a dark cap, with white supercilia which join at nape, black bill and legs. In flight, white secondaries contrast with black primaries and sandy-brown  upperwing-coverts and black tail band is evident. Adult breeding has yellow wash to sides of head, and black-and-maroon patch on belly. Non-breeders and juveniles have duller head patterns, white bellys and streaked breasts. Juvenile additionally has prominent buff fringes and dark subterminal crescents to scapulars and coverts.

Northern Lapwing

A big, dumpy, black and white wader with a long upswept wispy crest that is black in colour. Crown, face and cheek stripes are black as well. Upperparts  have a purplish-grey sheen. Undertail coverts are orange and breast is black. Pinkish legs and short dark bill. Rounded wings have white tips and underwing coverts. The tail is white with black tips. Sexes similar but female has white patches in black areas. Juveniles rather scaly above, rarely mixing with other waders. Usually in parties, feeding by running and stopping to pick up surface invertebrates. Relaxed, low, flapping flight. Shy in region

Grey Plover

A largish stocky wader with spangled grey-brown upperparts and black armpits. Non-breeders like a big Pacific Golden but grey above. Breeders are black below to thighs; breast sides have broad white border ends. Upperparts get more spangled silver, black and white. White wingbars and rump square. In flight diagnostic black armpits (axilliaries).