Thursday, 20 March 2008

Scandinavian Visitor?

In the wind and rain that leads up to a holiday weekend I decided to visit the Rest Harrow Scrape as the hide offers the opportunity to photograph and watch in the dry.

As I crossed Worth Marshes I watched this male Kestrel feeding from the wires, it makes you wonder what they did before off the man made perches they use.
When I arrived at the hide I was told be someone leaving that there were two Scandinavian Rock Pipits in front of the hide. When I was a recorder for the Kent part of London we seemed to get quite a few of this "littoralis" race of Rock Pipit, in their breeding plumage they can look closer to Water Pipits than the "petrosus" race that breeds round the British coast. I got a few pictures before this bird flew off to the nearest island to join the second bird.

While I was watching the pipits I was surprised when a Whooper Swan flew in. I hadn't realised that the bird I saw out on the marshes a few weeks ago was still around. Perhaps it's got a better handle on whast the weather is going to be like in the next week or so than the hopeful summer migrants just beginning to arrive in the country. Certainly the rain this afternoon felt quite icy and I wouldn't have been surprised had it turned to sleet.

There were a few Teal moving about but I failed to find one of my quarry, an early Garganey, it's about time that they started to arrive. I pointed the camera as this flew past and was quite surprised at the result, I normally find flying ducks difficult to get sharp.

Both birds returned to the edge and one paraded in front of the hide. I don't know if it is the same bird as in the first photo. On this bird the comparatively strong supercilium, the reduced flank streaking, compared to "petrosus" and the pinkish flush to the breast are go for "littoralis". One slightly odd character of either (or Water Pipit) is the pale leg colour, but I think that some birds, particularly females sometimes do have pale legs. As usual I took too many pictures, but if you're interested in these pipits they came be found here.


Deslilas said...

Birds are good weathermen !

Mike Watson said...

Nice rock pipits. Good to see the ornithological content on the up again. Good birding Tony!