October 25th   Leave a comment

During the autumn and winter we have two different types of pipit on the rocky shore around Crail: rock and meadow pipits. One is supposed to like rocky shores and the other meadows, but they both feed side by side in places like Roome Bay, Fife Ness and Balcomie. Habitat is not very helpful as an identification feature, although you will hardly ever see a rock pipit away from the shore. But they can be easily distinguished even though they are superficially very similar. And they are good species pair to build up your birding confidence with. You just need to run through a quick mental check list when you see a pipit on the shore: grey or brownish, definite streaking or not, dark or pale legs. After a bit of practice you assimilate all of these characters into one general impression so you can do it without thinking. Then it’s off to learning the next similar species pair: like cormorants and shags, arctic and common terns, chiffchaffs and willow warblers. There’s always another one to master whatever your level: greenish versus arctic warbler for some, or mistle and song thrush for others. One step at a time. With 10,000 bird species (or 12,000 depending on how you split your species) there is always another challenge.

Rock and meadow pipit (JA)

Posted October 25, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s