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Pipit on Shetlands, 05 Oct 2019 (1 Viewer)

Doc Duck

Registered User
Supporter
OK, time to give up and ask the experts. A friend and I were birding and knitting on the Shetlands last week (Shetland Wool Week falls at the same time as Fall migration). One day we stopped at a little beach near Spiggie Loch, just northwest of Sumburgh. We saw a couple of birds there we're struggling to ID. This is one of them. For a while we were prepared to settle on Water Pipit, although eBird marked it as unusual. Then when my friend posted it on her Facebook page another friend suggested it might be Olive-backed Tree Pipit, which would probably be even more unusual. And of course, it could be something else entirely. :S As you can see, it is in the right environs for a Water Pipit (shallows with lots of washed up and down plant debris), and the colours are hard to tell as with digital photography they seem to shift in different lights, shadows, and surroundings, but the bird did seem yellowish-greenish with brownish streaking and white or creamy wing bars ... at least to our eyes, viewed from some distance (these photos were taken with a 500 lens on a crop body camera, so effectively a 750 lens, and then cropped a bit furtherl on the computer screen).
 

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Steve Lister

Senior Birder, ex County Recorder, Garden Moths.
United Kingdom
I would go for Rock Pipits - something you should see in Norway too. One could be the local race (petrosus) and one Scandinavian (littoralis).

Steve
 

KenM

Well-known member
A. p. petrosus breeding resident on Shetland, A. p. littoralis a passage / winter visitor there. So could be either at this time of year :t:

Any Petrosus that I’ve seen, have always looked decidedly dark grey, without any accompanying olive tints? :t:

Cheers
 

KenM

Well-known member
I'd encourage you to look at more of them.

This is standard Rock Pipit A.petrosus which I've observed from N.Wales round to North Norfolk a big dark Pipit with dark legs.

On occasion I've seen littoralis, in the Lee Valley Reservoirs (North London)on passage (Autumn through to Spring), albeit never noting Petrosus.

To my eye littoralis generally shows paler legs, with upper-parts often a smudgey grey/olive, and I know a bit subjective but...always appear perhaps a touch smaller in bulk.
 

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Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
This is standard Rock Pipit A.petrosus which I've observed from N.Wales round to North Norfolk a big dark Pipit with dark legs.
Any you see in Norfolk will be A. p. littoralis; no nominate on the east coast south of Flamborough in Yorks :t:
 

TringBirder

Well-known member
Paler legs on Rock and Water Pipits are typically indicative of immaturity as in both species juveniles start off with pale legs and these darken with age and presumably there will be variation in how quickly this takes place.

Cheers

Roy
 

KenM

Well-known member
Any you see in Norfolk will be A. p. littoralis; no nominate on the east coast south of Flamborough in Yorks :t:

Actually you’re probably right Nutty, thinking about it, I should have said from N.Wales to Eastbourne, I was including Ap.within my normal “driving” area. :t:
 

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