Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Scilly day 19 - St Martins - Olive-backed Pipit

The omens weren't good as I walked onto the quay at 9.45. Plans were being changed as birders swapped boat queues for alternatives to St Martins! News had just come out, there had been no sign of the Olive-backed Pipit today....

I had no alternative, still needing this for the life list, it was do or die - it could be skulking somewhere?

Luckily the initial walk was going to be a short one as the boat dropped us at Higher Town with just a ten minute stroll beckoning. There was as expected, no sign but I decided to stick with the second bulb field, scanning the furrows.... Thanks to some great images taken by Rob Stonehouse the previous day, I had a clear image in my mind and then BOOM, my panning was suddenly halted by the unmistakable sight of..... Olive Backed Pipit!! I called out "got it" or something like that and got the camera into position. Problem was, I couldn't see it and with a crowd building up, neither could anyone else. Someone mentioned they saw a bird fly out into the hedge as I called it!

With 20 minutes passing by, I knew I'd seen it but with no-one else having connected, unease was growing! Then suddenly, 20m at the opposite end of the field, movement on the wall - yesssss I hadn't been hallucinating :-)

 I was to put it mildly 'ponderous' in moving back towards us but I had all day if necessary!

That bold supercilium, such a striking feature!

What a beauty, the brightly coloured chest, bold streaking and white belly really standing out!

Text book appearance' with the clear olive brown edging to the tertials and streaky olive back...

 It never came closer than 'record shot' range, perhaps within 25m.....

You've probably spotted them already but the poor Pipit was carrying at least three large ticks! Two clearly visible here with one on the other side of the head.

Tony C quipped - that Pipit's got more ticks than anyone on Scilly this year! Nice one :-)

The closest it came.....

It was just approaching the edge of the field where there was less 'cover' and I was looking forward to building on these images, when it suddenly flew into the hedge bordering the field!

It took another 40 minutes before we saw it again and that was at the far end of the field when it was flushed! And here's the culprit!!

Not just one but two reasons why we were unlikely to see it again!

A Firecrest in the same field, Tree Pipit as we approached Lowe Town were the only other notable birds!Oh and an Osprey - separate posting to come.....