Thursday, 9 May 2013

An Unexpected Visitor at The Lodge

22nd April 2013

Back to The Lodge at Sandy once more to try and get a close-up of a male Crossbill. There was still lots of activity around the pools with the usual Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Lesser Redpolls coming down to drink or bathe but today they were joined by a Chiffchaff, a pair of Blackcaps and even a Coal Tit.

There were also a lot more of the larger species today, either coming down to take advantage of the abundant food supply or to whet their thirst. These included, in order of appearance, a Jay, Mistle Thrush, Red-legged partridge and a Stock Dove.

So what was the unexpected visitor? Well, as I sat in the hide watching the action I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. A pipit had landed on the right hand edge of the nearest pool and was standing by the water's edge. Now pipits are hard to approach and therefore there are few opportunities for close-ups, so I instinctively started snapping away.

As a clicked away I started to remember that I was overlooking a meadow in the middle of a wood and therefore hardly the place for a Meadow Pipit. After the bird had flown I had a good look at the images and realised that this was in fact a Tree Pipit, apparently quite a rare visitor to The Lodge.

The main differences from a Meadow Pipit are the shorter stouter bill, the warm colour on the upper breast, the fine streaking on the flanks and the shorter hind claw as shown in this photo. The hind claw on a Meadow Pipit is double this length.

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