Sunday, 10 November 2013

Another Pipit Project

4th November 2013

Time for another go at those pipits on the foreshore at Rainham. Today the high tide, and a very high tide was forecast, was at 1.15pm and would hopefully push all the pipits from the lower areas that are out of reach up to the high level by the path. However, it was still only 10.30am and therefore time for a preamble around the reserve.

First stop was the Purfleet Hide where, unfortunately, there were still no birds close-by but duck numbers were increasing and the Wigeon in particular were getting more colourful. There were also a couple of Shoveler getting in on the action.

This heron had stayed motionless for nearly an hour but eventually decided that when you have an itch there is really no alternative.

Time to move on  and as I was approaching the cordite stores the Lapwings were obviously being spooked by a bird of prey. I couldn't see anything but that is often the case as by the time the birds lift, the bird of prey is in the next field. I love photographing Lapwings in flight, but they are so much better against a stormy sky.

On the way to the Ken Barrett hide a pair of Stonechats were flitting among the bushes out on the grassland. Unfortunately, the fence prevented me getting any closer and the sun was at an awkward angle but I did manage to get this shot of the female after a while.

But now back to the job in hand - to photograph a Rock Pipit. The tide should now be up, so all down to the foreshore. Well, when I got there I was met with a rather astonishing sight. The whole of the foreshore with its usual accompaniment of flotsom and jetsom was under water, with even the aforementioned flotsom and jetsom bobbing around. I was not sure whether this was good for pipits or not. Anyway, not to be daunted I crept along the path waiting for a giveaway call.....and then it came.

I did eventually manage to spot the pipit, although a streaky brown bird against a streaky brown background is not easy, and loosed off a number of shots. Unfortunately, the clean appearance of the bird with pencil-thin striations showed that this was in fact a Meadow Pipit. A lovely bird all the same.

However, a little further along the river wall I came across another pipit which, unfortunately, was not as approachable as the last bird but was the one I was after, a Rock Pipit. Note the dirtier greyer appearance and the smudgy striations.

Well, mission accomplished but not as good as I had hoped.........but we must all save some for another day.

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