Friday, 6 November 2009

Car Watch

I'm feeling sorry for myself at the moment. I did something I must have done about 100,000 times, got in my car, and somehow managed to tear my left calf muscle getting in. It's ridiculous, I can't tell why or how it happened, but I can't walk with out the aid a walking stick at the moment. So it's definitely p....ed of Friday today.

The car still makes a good hide and at high tide at this time of year there is ample opportunity to study British Rock Pipits at close quarters.

The good thing about Rock Pipits is they're normally not shy. In my limited experience, if you find a Water Pipit and it flushes it flies of and goes for miles in the air. It will often return not too far away, but it takes some following in the air because it stays up there for a long time. Rock Pipits generally fly short distances and then settle. Like all of these sort of subjective characters there will be exceptions but I think it is a clue if your not sure which you have. At this time of year both British and Scandinavian Rock Pipits are distinct from Water Pipits, but similar to each other. This changes after the new year and hopefully I'll get the opportunity to get some pictures of Water Pipit this year.
This is a pretty typical Rock Pipit, but a little brown job that I think is worth a second look.

"Who are you looking at then!"

There aren't many more common birds around here than Black Headed Gulls, but I still enjoy trying to get pictures of them "doing something".

This one is having a good scratch here.

And then having scratched used its beak to preen itself.

Although they seem to be always under pressure in the press, you know the lurid headlines in the daily rubbish, "Gulls terrify holiday makers by attacking them to steal their chips" etc, I still think that Herring Gulls are worth a look. They are an important starting point if you are going to sort out some of the less common gulls in this complex. We still haven't found a Caspian Gull at St Margaret's but there must surely be one in the near future. Meanwhile the fabulous pattern on this first winter Herring Gull is worth looking at.

I'm still waiting for the white head and honey iris, but today I had to be content with this bulk standard adult herring Gull.

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