Saturday 30 August 2014

Tree Pipits

A Tree Pipit playing hide and seek in the 'Dung Field' sallows.

I spent less time looking at the sea this morning and decided to concentrate on looking for migrants in the fields before breakfast. Tree pipits and yellow wagtails have been really reliable on the last few visits so it was no real surprise to see both species this morning. I saw at least 4 tree pipits and there was a flock of 10 yellow wagtail in with the cows. Other birds recorded were 3+ wheatear, 2+ grey wagtail, 1+ swift, 2 whitethroat, 2+ sand martin, 1 great spotted woodpecker, 1+ chiffchaff, 21 common scoter, 45+ common tern, 1 juv arctic tern and 1 grey heron. I also had an odd medium-sized wader flying east that gave a call that I didn't recognize and that I can't find on Xeno Canto.
Mudbank this afternoon on a low tide produced 36 wigeon, 5 pintail and, surprise surprise, a first-winter yellow-legged gull.

These two tree pipits were feeding in long grass around the slurry pit before I accidentally flushed them up into trees surrounding the water treatment plant. These birds were pretty much identifiable on behavior alone - flying up silently from long grass into cover and then perching up, luckily in full view. 

Three of the ten yellow wags.

A small and slightly trickier 'michaelis' - I felt much less confident with this bird but I think it's ok. The new first-winter scapular feathers were all gingery with clear anchor marks and the tertials were a little more patterned than I would have liked - comments, as always, welcome.


  1. Hi Matt, see what you mean about this gull, not quite a classic is it but then few of the ones I see in Topsham are. Still, I have to agree with you, from the photos it must be a mick, nothing else fits. And after all, you presumably saw a lot more detail than is shown in the photos.

  2. Hi Tim - yep plumage wise it was fine apart from tertials not perfect but they were ok for ylg I feel. Mudbank never normally good for ylg so recent run has been a pleasant surprise. A smart juv present this evening(31st) but distance plus light not good so no acceptable photos.