Sunday, 30 March 2014

Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained.

Well on Friday I ventured out for a brief spell and gained little save an update on birds I already know about, like the ones on Conder Pool, 2 Spotted Redshank, 15 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Goldeneye, 3 Little Grebe one of which was in breeding plumage, a Little Egret, and c.20 Meadow Pipit which came down onto the grassy bankOn the Lune Estuary I counted only 240 Black-tailed Godwit today, with 30 Bar-tailed Godwit, and 13 Goldeneye noted.  I was only able to put in a brief appearance on Moss Lane at Cockersands to find 200 Whooper Swan still there.

The Rock Pipit

Scandinavian Rock Pipit littoralis. Marc Heath.

Iv'e been quizzed - the audacity - on how I identified the Scandinavian Rock Pipit seen on Conder Pool last Wednesday 26 March. So I sent this person the pic above and asked what he thought the bird was....I know what mine was!

The Scandinavian Rock Pipit breeds in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, wintering from south-western Sweden to Portugal, although the main wintering areas appear to be in Britain and the Netherlands to Northern France.

British Rock Pipit petrosus. Geoff Gradwell.

Unlike the British Rock Pipit petrosus which are similar throughout the year, the Scandinavian Rock Pipit littoralis acquires a distinct summer plumage which enables them to be identified with some certainty before they depart in the spring, although confusion still often reigns, especially with the subtle variability of petrosus and the often similar spring plumage of littoralis to Water Pipit spinoletta which readily lends itself to identification problems.

The Wheatear.

Wheatear. Marc Heath.

Apparently the Wheatear are here in our area though I've yet to connect with one. 

Thanks to Marc Heath for his birds in Kent, and to GG for his bird on the Fylde....excellent on all counts.


Pete Marsh said...

Hmmm. Why is GG's definitely a petrosus if it was taken on the Fylde? They do not move much and we are further away from petrosus breeding areas than anywhere else on the west coast (nearest IOM?). Very tricky mid-winter (esp without a view of outer tail feathers).

I'm of the opinion that all the saltmarsh wintering birds are littoralis with a German paper to back me up if I can find it!!

Best regards


Pete Woodruff said...

GG's 'definitely' petrosus isn't a definitely one at all Pete, and I have never claimed it to be though the caption may have said it was.

Iv'e done a considerable amount of reading about the Rock Pipit complex similar to your German paper, and recently listened to some very sound advice on the subject, add to this the post was somewhat hasty ending up with a little inaccuracy. But the fact remains that some of these birds are in the main unidentifiable.

Much more to be said about the subject but we'll leave it there for now noting....I never claim to know all the answers, more to the point I often don't.