Pipits, Pipits, Pipits

Shetland, Autumn 2012

You never know what’s wandering through the long grass… This is an Olive- backed Pipit which gave wonderfully close views in Hestingott, South Mainland on our first morning.

Never the same. I look forward to each autumn on Shetland. Because you never know…This year the weather was tough but the Shetland Nature groups tougher (really!). You ask ’em. We had a lot of fun. highlights for both groups seem to be, in no particular order:

  • The hunt – the chance to work as a team, hunting and finding our own rarities
  • Sharing in pioneering ID discoveries – live!
  • Seeing a host of really rare birds
  • Having a whole island to ourselves
  • Keeping our lively lists from trip totals to ‘seen from the van’
  • Gaining experience of bird families like many types of pipits or almost ‘all the redpolls’
  • Unbeatable moments like finding Yellow-browed and Barred Warbler in lashing rain or when a Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll landing on our van

Pipits were well represented  in autumn 2012.

My first morning with RR at the south end. Whatever lies ahead on a Shetland birding experience – it always comes good!

Soon after leaving Sumburgh head we found this Olive- backed Pipit at Quendale (more here). Having thoroughly thrashed around Quendale Burn we briefly each saw ‘bounding pipit’ on the return leg. My view was better- flying away, no call. Surely a ‘Richard’s type’ but not enough. A Richard’s Pipit was found 2 days later in the same area by Dave Fairhurst…

to compare with the soft pastel tones of the Olive-backed, the occasional Tree Pipit helped our learning both plumage and calls. this one was at Valyie, Unst.

One of the ‘top’ rarities this year was this Pechora Pipit which all of the first group saw well at Norwick, Unst. Photos by jammy finder (it was meant for us!) and Unst resident, Mike Pennington.

Making up for last year’s wounds Roger R. went a found a Buff-bellied Pipit on Rerwick Beach, which took us a couple of goes, but we finally got it. guys very happy after new bird, well seen, and without hoards of other birders.

Less buttery and more beautiful rich peachy-buff underneath: Buff-bellied Pipit. More on Roger’s find here

Buff-bellied Pipit on Rerwick Beach. Roger’s text began with the word ‘BOOM’! No wonder.

A special day (all alone) on Fetlar, got us a couple of very nice finds including a Richard’s Pipit. Seen and (just about) heard briefly just before we had to dash for the boat, we opted to return and secure the ID. Part of the challenge of ‘the hunt’.

Richard’s Pipit, Houbie, Fetlar, October 2012. We then went on and found another Richard’s Pipit at Norwick, Unst a couple of days later. Cookin!

Tree Pipit again. not so rare but always good to see.

Full pipit tally: Meadow, Tree, Rock, Olive-backed (2), Richard’s (2-3), Pechora and Buff-bellied. Not bad!

Below: maybe we will find one of these in 2013? Do you know what it is?

8 thoughts on “Pipits, Pipits, Pipits

  1. Davy Bosman

    Note the dark moustachial line that defines the lower edge of ear-coverts (caption photo birding world 24 number 10 p. 415). Compare with the pechora. I must admit I didn’t know about that one.


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