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Rock or meadow pipit? (1 Viewer)

Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Hello Redmist,

thank you for the new photos. I hope, you find the bird again and take more shots of this interesting birds.
This is not a definite answer, but one to alert others to have a look at this interesting bird.
The new pictures show a darker brown back with an obvious olive tinge, much better for Rock Pipit.

I have seen a few similar Rock Pipits (presumable Scandinavian birds) myself and pictures in/from the baltic region and there where a few where I thought: "if I see this bird in SW-Germany I would give them a quick jizz-identification as a Water Pipit, and miss a rarity."

I am still undecided:
I dont have enough experience for this bird: Therefore, I cant write: "the colour of the back (if the second set of pictures show the real colours, I wrote my caveats about the colours in the first picture in post nr.14) are out of variation for a Water Pipit."
And equally, I cant write, that such clear, clean, white belly and undertail-coverts are out of variation for Rock Pipit.


I still see sharp, narrow streaks to the flanks and not enough streaks to (especially rear) flanks and belly for a Rock Pipit, but is this out of variation? I cant answer that, see above.

Conclusion? While the new pictures changed me from the "Water Pipit to the Rock Pipit camp", I think this one is for the real experts. If they jump in, this will sure be one of those educational threads, I (and surely many others) will benefit from.

Look here: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/pipit-water-or-rock-lagoon-of-santo-andré-portugal.372406/#post-3811554 for a Water Pipit imo and intesting pictures of Scandinavian Rock Pipits from member Laruslister.

And thank you again, Dantheman for the interesting link!
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Rock Pipit in #1 +#2
First impression of image 196 is a Water Pipit with such white ground colour to the underparts, (this is usually the most distinctive feature of winter Water Pipits compared to Rock/Meadow), distinct fine streaking, unstreaked belly, plain warm brown unstreaked mantle, obvious contrast with grey head, white tail sides in later image (not mutually exclusive) flaring supercilium behind the eye (strongly supportive) , and warm brown unstreaked rump- but again, I would need a better look on a larger screen and analyse more closely.
 
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Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
First impression of image 196 is a Water Pipit with such white ground colour to the underparts
This link may be helpful.


I have to say, I have never seen a Rock Pipit of either sub-sp with such a glaring white belly as in image 196 (if the flank feathers weren’t displaced in the other two images, I suspect we would see distinct streaking on white/clean ground colour) however my experience with Rock Pipit in Norway is nil! and it seems like there are good grounds for regarding Scandi Rock as conspecific ) - admittedly these are impressions from images so it may not be an accurate representation of the bird in the field but still ...

I would be interested to know what your general impressions were in the field?

Hard to identify with any certainty, but apart from location, I can’t see anything to rule out Water Pipit ..which would probably make it a Wockit 😉
 
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Lisa W

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Hi, just wanted to remind you to please put a location in your thread title. Thanks.
 

Redmist

Member
Supporter
Norway
Thanks again Alexander and Deb for the good discussions on this one. It's not until you go through this process that you really start to analyze and learn so it's been really valuable.

It turns out when I checked the norwegian sightings database that a water pipit was recorded at the same location the day before my bird. Anyway I will head back tomorrow and see what I can find, armed with my new pipit knowledge.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
It turns out when I checked the norwegian sightings database that a water pipit was recorded at the same location the day before my bird. Anyway I will head back tomorrow and see what I can find, armed with my new pipit knowledge.
Hi ‘Redmist’

Very interesting! Perhaps it’s worth submitting your sighting to the local Norwegian recorders/rare bird committee if you have one. I would definitely go back and see what’s about.
 

TringBirder

Well-known member
Thanks Roy, Dan and Alexander for the comments and links - these are a fun challenge. I had dismissed water pipit as an idea as there are not a lot of reports here although there are a few January records. But I can see why it is a possibility now. I've added the only two other photos that I have, poor quality and bad angles so probably not helpful. I think I can see the unstreaked brown back and rump and my first photo above looked (to me) to have a greyish head. Is there a hint of pale supercillium as well which wouldn't be so common in rock? I suppose I will be heading back out on saturday to try to get some better pictures. Thanks to all.
If you can get better photos that would be very helpful. The fact that it is in this plumage at this time of year would certainly improve it chances of being a Water Pipit and a return visit could be helpful. If you do see it again pay particular attention to the colour of the rump and the exact shade of brown is one of the most reliable features.

Good luck

Roy
 
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Brian J Small

Well-known member
Re Rock Pipit movements

It is generally thought that petrosus Rock Pipit moves relatively short distances - see the classic Williamson article from 1965 - http://britishbirds.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/article_files/V58/V58_N12/V58_N12_P493_504_A095.pdf

This report from the Grampian Ringing Group generally indicates short movements for local petrosus, but notes a bird from Fair Isle at Buchanhaven, a southwards movement of c. 220km - http://grampianringing.blogspot.com/2013/03/rock-pipit-movements.html.

And, again, the classic Alstrom article from Alula - https://www.researchgate.net/profil...ion-of-Rock-Water-and-Buff-bellied-Pipits.pdf

Your second batch of images in post 13, to me show two Rock Pipits (images 1 and 2), but the 3rd has images so soft it is hard to tell if the mantle is streaked or not. The white underparts rule out Rock, but could it be a Meadow? Adjusted pics attached.

Brian
 

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Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Nice work on lightening the images Brian.

I can’t see a Meadow Pipit here tbh.

The dark legs and very whitish ground colour to the upper breast might not exclude MP but the plain mantle (should be moderately ->heavily marked in Meadow) and the grey un-streaked head would be very unusual for Meadow but completely consistent with WP - structurally it looks too pot bellied for MP too imo.

A bit earlier in the year so more fresh but cf mantle/head pattern
Probably no better than Brian’s alterations but clearly showing very dark legs and unmarked grey head contrasting with brown virtually unmarked mantle - I still can’t see anything to rule out Water Pipit but several features that are inconsistent with Meadow and imo too, Scandi Rock...given the brightness of the covert bars, I can’t see the argument that the image is too soft to show mantle streaks holding too much weight imo.
94DF145A-990B-4A40-B7F8-6731B840EFAA.jpeg
 
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Redmist

Member
Supporter
Norway
Thanks to those who replied on this and tried to improve my images. As for meadow pipit, in my (somewhat limited) experience this bird is clearly different from the meadows that I've seen in the area so that was not a thought I had with this one. I've not been able to get a better picture but here is a reported WP at the same location as mine a few days later https://www.artsobservasjoner.no/Media/Image/1547325
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
... As for meadow pipit, in my (somewhat limited) experience this bird is clearly different from the meadows that I've seen in the area so that was not a thought I had with this one. I've not been able to get a better picture but here is a reported WP at the same location as mine a few days later https://www.artsobservasjoner.no/Media/Image/1547325
Thanks for posting the link Redmist.

As I said earlier, it is worth you submitting your image to the relevant recorders for your area for assessment. I have not changed my mind about your bird and still see it more as a Water Pipit rather than Rock or Meadow.

There’s a blue ‘filter’ tint or lack of colour tones, on the linked photos but the general shape and flank streaking on the white ground colour to upper chest/belly/flanks and flaring supercilium behind the eye looks very very similar to your bird imo.
 
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KenM

Well-known member
Thanks for posting the link Redmist.

As I said earlier, it is worth you submitting your image to the relevant recorders for your area for assessment. I have not changed my mind about your bird and still see it more as a Water Pipit rather than Rock or Meadow.

There’s a blue ‘filter’ tint or lack of colour tones, on the linked photos but the general shape and flank streaking on the white ground colour to upper chest/belly/flanks and flaring supercilium behind the eye looks very very similar to your bird imo.
Agreed, I feel the last images are imo better for Water Pipit for reasons stated.

Cheers
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Agreed, I feel the last images are imo better for Water Pipit for reasons stated.

Cheers
The last images are indeed a Water Pipit Ken - as already reported!

(or were you referring to the OP images on page 1 of this thread - posted 8 days ago in post#20 - there’s been no additional photos added since then)
 

KenM

Well-known member
The last images are indeed a Water Pipit Ken - as already reported!

(or were you referring to the OP images on page 1 of this thread - posted 8 days ago in post#20 - there’s been no additional photos added since then)
The last two images Deb.👍
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Sorry Ken - I am being dense probably. Do you mean the images on the link that Redmist posted or the ones Brian and I uploaded that were lightened.

If the latter, these are just the same photos that Redmist posted originally on page one last week!

You weren’t thinking they were new photos? Because it sounded as if you were replying to my description of the linked images that’s why I asked! 🤔
 

KenM

Well-known member
Sorry Ken - I am being dense probably. Do you mean the images on the link that Redmist posted or the ones Brian and I uploaded that were lightened.

If the latter, these are just the same photos that Redmist posted originally on page one last week!

You weren’t thinking they were new photos? Because it sounded as if you were replying to my description of the linked images that’s why I asked! 🤔
The last “lightened” images by Brian, Deb.

Cheers
 

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