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Sunday, 10 November 2019

Water Pipits

The large field opposite Colyford WTW along Cownhayne Lane is looking rather tasty at the moment - it's crammed full of birds!  Seeing them isn't always easy mind...

For a couple of days I've seen a lone Water Pipit feeding just inside the gate during some some fairly brief checks of the site. Today though I had time to set the scope up and spend a decent amount of time here, which revealed a total of (at least) five Water Pipits...

Dreadful picture - sorry!


Four of them spent about five minutes feeding around the cattle right inside the gate, with a fifth seen and heard in flight along the southern edge of the field (where there could actually have been many more!).

Watching these birds reminded me very much of early 2005, when a flock of up to twenty Water Pipits were feeding in the field on the opposite side of Cownhayne Lane (just north of the WTW).  Back then Water Pipits were an annual winter visitor for us, but they were usually confined to Colyford Marsh.  That particular winter however I remember they went missing just prior to our New Year's bird race, but a few weeks later Gav stumbled upon them in this field.  It was a real surprise to us as they had always been so site-faithful, and we had never even heard of Water Pipits feeding on arable land before!  What's odd though is history hasn't repeated itself, and as far as I'm aware not a single Water Pipit has been seen in this field since.  Well - until maybe this year as am sure some of these will cross the lane sooner or later.

As well as the Water Pipits today, this field gave; 80 Linnet, 40 Meadow Pipits, 30 Pied Wags, 10 Skylark and a Greenshank that has been feeding in the same muddy puddle for a few days now...

Looking even more out of place than the Water Pipits!


I have always dreamt of finding a Buff-bellied Pipit on patch, and I can't help but think this field will offer me a good a chance as ever. It is though so tricky to get among the birds properly, mostly due to the stubble and crop height, so it's the kind of site you just need to keep checking as often as possible. Finger's crossed...

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