ID these pip­its, please

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

We saw these pip­its at Nare Head in Corn­wall at the end of March. There was about seven of them in a field shortly af­ter a heavy hail shower. We’re try­ing to find out if they are Rock Pip­its per­haps?) or Wa­ter Pip­its. They look too streaky for the lat­ter. Penny In­sole, Bris­tol

QWe of­ten say that you should trust your in­stincts, and we think yours are spot on in this case. These birds do in­deed look a bit too streaky and, in­deed, smudgy to be Wa­ter Pip­its, which at one point were con­sid­ered a sub­species of Rock Pipit rather than as a species in their own right. We’d ex­pect Wa­ter Pip­its to look a bit ‘cleaner’, whereas on these birds the flank streaks are blur­ring into one an­other, which def­i­nitely points to­wards these be­ing the much more com­monly seen Rock Pipit. As to whether these birds are British na­tives (ssp pet­ro­sus) or Scan­di­na­vian vis­i­tors (ssp lit­toralis), with the birds still in their win­ter coats it’s dif­fi­cult to tell; but lit­toralis has been recorded at Nare Head in the past, so it’s not be­yond the realms of pos­si­bil­ity.


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