Saturday, 12 October 2013

Pip Pip Away?

I overslept this morning and was just on my way out when I got a text from Bren, telling me that the Bockhill Birders had a Richards Pipit at Hope Point.

I strolled down there from the Monument, being afforded great views of two Peregrines that were very active as I went down the hill.
The Peregrines were particularly exercised about the presence of a Raven, they should be used to it by now, and they put on some spectacular displays.

A large number of finches were along the cliff top and the strip of land, now reclaimed as chalk grassland, but still with remnants of recent agricultural plantings, is proving to be as bit of a magnet for feeding birds, amongst them today several Bramblings.

I was from here that a large pipit had flown up, calling as it went.I had settled back in the grass and remained out of sight, unlike the Meadow Pipits that happily sit on the new fence for inspection. When I arrived it had been seen in flight on several occasions and the call had been heard. Almost as soon I was on the spot it was off again and frustratingly it again landed out of view. One of the advantages of modern day birding is the availability of technological help, be it digital cameras or recordings. Having heard the call, most opinion was that it sounded quite "soft" for a Richard's Pipit" and a quick listen to the call confirmed that it possibly wasn't such a strident "shreep" as the one on the recording. Flight views are never easy, and I didn't manage a flight photo, but there were a couple of distant ones obtained and one recording where the call can be heard, albeit quite faintly. The weather tomorrow, after the early morning doesn't look good and the bird had disappeared towards the end of the day. It may remain a problematic pipit!

While searching there were other birds to see, this confiding Lapland Bunting walked between the tufts of grass and the thistles just a few feet in front of us.

I lave the pattern on the back and the wings of a Lapland Bunting, I think that they are a really smart looking bird.
As the afternoon wore on a call from Richard at the monument told us of a Rough-legged Buzzard up there. I was at Hope Point and the bird was distant and into the sun. Luckily half and hour later,  while we were at the freedown Malcolm pick it out over the gold course, and although it never got particularly close, at least the light was reasonable. A good day overall but possible the star bird will have slipped away.

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