Wise Birding Holidays

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Pipits

Last week with a birding mate, I found three Water Pipits in an area where I have had birds in previous years, in fields north of White Bridge. One of the birds is a cracking summer plumaged bird which I managed a record shot of, but despite a couple of repeat visits I have failed to get any half decent photos. They are extremely wary and do not allow close approach. At least one was still present yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon(23rd March), Steve Waite kindly let me know that a visiting birder had reported 6 Water Pipits on fields south of White Bridge. I had some free time so headed out and could only find a group of 6-7 Rock Pipits in the area. There has been a small group around for the last few days, but they have been feeding around the wet fields and scrapes, perhaps more the feeding habitat you might expect from a Water Pipit. However, on scanning the flock, I was immediately drawn to a much greyer headed bird than the other Rock Pipits it was associating with. The bird also seemed to show fairly prominent wing bars that on my first views I even wondered if it was a Water Pipit. I spent quite some time watching this bird and the more I watched it the more I became interested and I suspected it might possibly be a littoralis Rock Pipit (Scandinavian Rock Pipit). I don't have any recent experience of these, but it certainly seemed to show some littoralis features with a fairly obvious grey head and mantle, prominent supercilium behind the eye and a very subtle peach wash to the upper breast. I managed some really dodgy video through my phone, but annoyingly didn't have the correct attachment with me, hence the shaking and black vignetting!

Below is the video with the odd still included in the video. Would be happy to hear others thoughts.....



Summer plumage Water Pipit 20th March North of White Bridge

5 comments:

  1. Hi Chris, got a confession to make, think I might have seen the same bird on Saturday pm (dropped in for a quick look at the gulls with Martin Elliott), thought it a possible littoralis but seeing as the light was atrocious and knowing how hard they are to confirm we left it at that. Should have let you know but really didn't think there was any mileage in it.

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  2. No problem at all Tim. I have no doubt you will text me when it is an Audouin's Gull!

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  3. Not a particularly bright individual but seems to fit most features (few there are!) for littoralis in spring plumage: greyer head, good supercilium, subtly marked mantle and scaps, whiter belly and more restricted darker streaking on flanks and chest than petrosus. streaking too heavy on flanks for Water Pipit. Even slightly yellowy/peachy breasted petrosus can be found on the S Devon coast through the summer and they often show good superciliums too! but I reckon the combination of plumage here make it littoralis.

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  4. Not a particularly bright individual but seems to fit most features (few there are!) for littoralis in spring plumage: greyer head, good supercilium, subtly marked mantle and scaps, whiter belly and more restricted darker streaking on flanks and chest than petrosus. streaking too heavy on flanks for Water Pipit. Even slightly yellowy/peachy breasted petrosus can be found on the S Devon coast through the summer and they often show good superciliums too! but I reckon the combination of plumage here make it littoralis.

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  5. Thanks for your comments Mike - much appreciated as always....

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