Sunday 19 January 2014

Buff-bellied Pipit, Burton Marsh, Cheshire

After saying that I'd found a cure for twitching, I found myself lured, for the third time in as many weeks, out again. I had dipped a Buff-bellied Pipit on Scillies in the 90's and I didn't bother with the one down in London the other year, but this one attracted my interest.

As twitches go this one was very easy. Park your car and walk a couple of yards and view just over the fence. Not quite an epic, but it was a glorious day today. The light was poor first thing and in the afternoon the sun was in your face, so photography was challenging. 

Buff-bellied Pipit

It is an interesting bird, which to me had some pro Siberian Pipit (Anthus rubescens japonicas) features. In the dull light this morning, the median covert wing-bars looked white and the streaks on the underparts were quite bold. Also the belly only had a very faint buff wash. The N American sub-species is said to have dark legs usually black or dark grey. Both sub-species can have light brown legs apparently, but there is no mention of Anthus rubescens having pinkish legs. This bird appears to have dark pink legs, but are they too dark? 

I can't profess to be an expert, but reading various bits written by people with more experience I think it is worth considering whether it is actually a N American bird. That said the strong winds recently might lead one to consider a westerly origin for it, but when did it actually arrive here?

Buff-bellied Pipit

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