Sunday 3 February 2013

Sticking with it

A new bird for the patch this weeked in the form of a Water Pipit was a bit of a tonic after yet another week of a nagging cough. Not only does this scare away the birds, it's just a bit exhausting. It finally drove me to the Doctor on Friday, and having satisfied himself that it wasn't a chest infection his advice was, and I quote, 'stick with it'.
Gadwall - the most numerous duck at Swineham at the moment with 50-120 birds regularly present
I've been given this advice before when stuck on a crossword, but never before for a cough. Mind you, it beats the advice I got last time I went to a quack with a similar ailment - 'try not to cough' he said. I kid you not.
Shoveler: probably the most striking duck at Swineham at the moment.
So, in the spirit of sticking with it, and trying not to cough, I headed to Swineham yesterday for a quick look around. An uneventful scan of the pits produced the usual ducks in smaller numbers than recent weeks, but further on towards Swineham Point a large-ish pipit flushed from the wet grass and gave a call which narrowed it down to either Rock or Water.
Water Pipit: note the prominent pale supercilium and wingbars, extensively yellow bill and unstreaked mantle
I managed a few flight shots between convulsions which showed a prominent, flared supercilium, unstreaked mantle, clean white underparts with some fine dark streaks, and white outer tail feathers, all good features for Water Pipit.
This shot shows clean white, finely streaked underparts and white outer tail feathers.
The Pipit also went miles when flushed which I seem to remember was a characteristic of the birds we used to go and see at Rainham Marshes when I lived in Kent. The local Meadow Pipits, by contrast, tend to flit around you in a little circle and the Rock Pipits, when present, are generally a bit more approachable. Unless of course you are coughing your guts up on said approach.

Another shot of the Water Pipit showing several of the features described above.

No comments:

Post a Comment