Sep 27, 2010

Buff bellied pipit

Returning to the bike after a particularly good mornings birding I thought everything was about done and I would be riding off for a cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast. The bike is parked at Yesnaby camp carpark A spectacular sight that stands on the edge of rugged cliffs. Parked along from me is the RSPB’s pickup Loaded for a days labour. Looking around I can see Allan Leitch and Lorna an assistant warden waving to me to come across to the cliff edge. I was saying as I approached that I hope its something good like a King Eider and he replied I think its something EVEN better im sure I have just heard a buff bellied pipit!!! He had heard it call as it rose giving off a call somewhat like a wagtail and very un pipit like. So the hunt was on and we slowly moved along the cliff top picking our way through oodles of mippits and rippits. We get well north almost to the bay below the broch turn and head back. Alan heres its call again and then sees it flying and calling. This time it lands on a small promontory and settles in to catching insects along a dark shelf. We get super views if a bit distant. Its all there, the plain mantle, a bit of a bib dark legs, buff colour, Its all breathless excitement and the minutes pass. Lorna is dispatched to the motor to get a phone and in no time at all Eric is out of the office and running along the cliff tops towards us, Hes confirming it as a buff bellied pipit and we are all about as breathless as he is. Alan is about throwing up with excitement. It really dose not get much better than this……what a fantastic ear!! I was some lucky to be passing at the right time!!!

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