Sunday, 7 January 2018

Water Pipits

We've had a Water Pipit knocking around the Bridge Marsh area since early December, but a week or so ago Twilight Tim (aka Davey Macbrayne) clocked the presence of up to four birds in the Colyford Common area. Today he saw 5-7 birds, so I convinced Jess we should take Harry for a stroll down the Wetlands for his afternoon nap, despite the harsh and extremely cold north east wind! Luckily Jess is as fond of the Wetlands as I am, so not much convincing was required :-)

Back in the day when Water Pipit was a regular and fairly numerous winter visitor here, there was a rule which nine times out of ten Pipits stuck too. A large Pipit on the west side of the tramline (Colyford Common) would be a Rock Pipit. A large Pipit on the east side of the tramline (Colyford Marsh) would be a Water Pipit. Although this sounds very sweeping and unscientific, which it is, it was nearly always true. Rock Pipits would break the rule now and then and flew east, but hardly ever would a Water Pipit fly west over the tramline. Must have been something about the habitat.  

So what is amazing about the current birds, is that they are actually on Colyford Common, the west side of the tramline. They still seem to keep their distance from any onlookers, but it's a damn-sight better than them being out in the middle of Colyford Marsh that's for sure! I only had ten minutes with them this afternoon, but the light was stunning, and my highest count was of six birds, along with one Rock Pipit and a couple of Meadow Pipits...

Four in one shot was the most I managed. Pity I wasn't stood on that bit of boardwalk in shot though!

All eye-stripes, wing bars, and white bellies!

The larger Pipits (Rock and Water) have a far more laboured way of walking when compared to the smaller Meadow Pipit

This was the most diffuse bird present, in fact I wondered about Buff-bellied when I first saw it! The late afternoon sun is making it look warmer toned than it was. 

Grey nape showing well on this bird in this pic

The Pipits shared the ground with Starlings, but not a lot else!

All in all an enjoyable ten minutes. If you're passing I urge you to enjoy them whilst they're here, it's not often you can see Water Pipits showing like this and at this distance. I'm going back for seconds that's for sure!

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