21 Dec 2013

Buff-bellied Pipit, Cheshire.

Watching all the Wagtails and Pipits feeding on the debris washed up by the tidal surge last weekend I commented to Mark Payne that there'll be a rare pipit or Wheatear on this lot this winter. Roll forward 6 days. After a busy day ringing in Barry's garden I'm sat in the pub enjoying a quiet pint with Barry waiting for Steve who rushes in uttering oaths over a photo Eddie Williams  has sent him. The lads had found an odd pipit on the crap washed up at the bottom of Denhall Lane. Unhappy with the initial views Eddie went back and made a positive I.D before getting photos that he sent to was only a fecking Buff-bellied Pipit.  Unfortunately at my age I now require reading glasses & didn't have the necessary eye-gear to see the photo's on the back of the iPhone and reluctant to take up Barry's suggestion of asking anyone in the pub had reading glasses I had to make do with a blurry image that we compared to the one I'd photographed on Shetland a couple of years ago. The decision was made to try and nail the bird at first light before putting the news out about such a potentially big bird.

Thank goodness its the shortest day today and first light meant a bit of a lie in. Reaching site just after 8 I met with Steve, Barry, Allan Conlin, Eddie, Kenny D and Colin Wells and endured a tense 30 minutes searching before Kenny yelled he'd got it.

Reviewing the bird and photo's when I got home I was unhappy with the colouration for rubescens and started thinking along the line of japonicas. Martin Garner phoned and was having similar thoughts based on the photo Steve had tweeted earlier. This was potentially a very big bird.

Chris Batty then phoned and I forwarded the photos to him & Martin with the consensus being rubescens.

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