23 Dec 2013

More on the Buff-bellied Pipit

I've seen several Buff-bellied Pipits in the UK since my  first at Farmoor Reservoir in 2007 - since that one I've seen three on Shetland where they've become a bit of an autumn speciality. What struck me about the Burton bird was how un-buff it looked which caused me concern and had me researching the Siberian race 'japonicus'. Martin Garner obviously had the same thoughts and we discussed the bird over numerous phone calls and emails over a three hour period! Other people had the same thoughts - Steve deliberately captioned his photo's as 'Buff-bellied' rather than with the prefix 'American' and the twitterati were on the case.

The photos below illustrate the case in point. The first one is the Burton bird and the 2nd one is my photo of the American Buff-bellied Pipit found by Martin Garner at Quendale, Shetland about 3 years ago. Chalk & cheese...............

All the other birds I've seen have been at the end of September or early October so were in much fresher plumage having just completed either adult or post juvenile moult. The Burton bird showed very little buff colouration. Being 2-3 months older plumage wise than the others maybe its just worn & faded.

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