Sunday, 17 January 2016

Richard's Pipits

It dawned clear and bright, with frost on the car and snow on the Wolds. The orange sun rose as I passed Bridlington and dropped down to Flamborough. I had the place to myself so walked round the grass field (owned by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust) to the east of North Landing. Sadly, the three Richard's Pipits were nowhere to be seen, with two showy Rock Pipits and a single Meadow Pipit being nice, but little consolation. After checking a few more fields, I headed back to where I had started and scanning the first field, there were three large buffy pipits - surely these must be the Dicks! No sooner had I scoped them than they took off and flew calling down to the bottom of the field, where they started feeding happily in the early morning sun. I watched them for the next hour or so, noting their pale lores and checking out their median covert bar, to see whether I could pick out the pointed dark tips to the centres of the adult median coverts - I could, but it wasn't easy! The pipits showed well but did not come closer than about 20 metres. They walked purposefully through the long tussocky grass, occasionally stopping for a few moments to look around, particularly if the local gulls started calling. They were presumably well aware of the threat of the local Peregrine. Whilst watching the trio, a Water Rail suddenly squealed in the ditch in the gulley behind me - unexpected to say the least! I managed at least one shot with all three in the same frame, but it wasn't easy as one of the birds seemed less clingy than the other two. Smart birds.

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