Friday 23 April 2021

20210423 Ring Ouzel & Barn Owl, Hindolveston. Female Ouzel, Kelling WM


20210423 Barn Owl
Protesting to the naked ape.
'Give Way to re-wilding in Norfolk'... or is it too late?
A few ancient hedges and fields in the Hindolveston area...

20210423 Barn Owl

20210423 Ring Ouzel
2 males of 7 on private pitch and putt field, packed with wild flowers.
Not as a commercial GC...

20210423 Ring Ouzel
5 birds down together, only one browner female type in flock.
Also one Fieldfare associating with Ouzels.
Pair of Mistle Thrush and several Songs put in an appearance.
The local Blackbirds were somewhat rattled.

20210423 Fieldfare
More thickset and stocky than the often slim looking Ouzels.
Flock of 27 in April 2019. Seen to fly off to the SE??
Flocks often going ESE in North Norfolk in spring suggesting they cross North Sea back into Europe,

and then head Northwards...?

20210505 Ring Ouzel
Pleased to catch a female at KWM.
How many are missed in the shadows....?

20210505 Ring Ouzel
Note damaged tail. Feathers looked as if they were snapped off.

Saturday 10 April 2021

20210410 Orange breasted Meadow Pipit Kelling Water Meadows


20210410 Meadow Pipit
ID plate of Orange breast variants in Anthus pratensis
 Yellowish orange-breasted type left 2 birds, (as seen at Kelling Quags and in Devon...)
Reddish orange-breasted type bottom centre, (as seen on Blakeney Point and Cley Marshes)

Archetypal Spring Meadow Pipits top and bottom right 2 birds.

Re-visiting the variability in Mipit for at least the 5th time...
2 high contrast and colourful birds at KWM.
Features required for the disputed form A p whistleri were not seen on either bird.
Note jpeg compression smudges out fine feather detail about the head,
causing a greyed out appearance seen on many tweeted LoRes shots of this bird.

20210410 Meadow Pipit
Pair together
Prince of orange at rear.
 Note range of base flush does not extend onto flanks in either bird.

20210410 Meadow Pipit
Prince of orange head on, blimey...

20210410 Meadow Pipit
2nd bird paired with the prince of orange.
Showed very pale orange flush to breast & throat as in the prince, but not so intense of tone.

20150427 Meadow Pipit
KWM April 2015, Classic spring plumage.

201804 Meadow Pipit
Matt Knott Orcombe Point in April 2018.
Similar bib and throat area with whiter flanks.
Strong tramlines and wing-bars.

20210419 Meadow Pipit
Prince of Orange still here and paired on 19th.

20210410 Meadow Pipit
Prince of Orange head on the orange tint was at its brightest.

20210514 Meadow Pipit
Iron Road. 1st blogspot with MKII...
Note Naples Yellow throat patch fades into upper breast.

20210503 Meadow Pipit
Orange breast patch fading of less striking partner, KWM early May.
Note bent left leg.

Meadow Pipits, Anthus pratensis, have always been a part of the local birding background noise. A part of the scenery yet not the scene. So the report of a pipit with a yellow-orange front appearing at Kelling Water Meadows on the 9th April ushered a twitch of interest. This momentum promoted by a reference to it being a whistleri-type bird and consolidated by such a type being observed, at Salthouse, on the 9th March. 

Any reference to a type’ usually flags up an identification puzzle. Further discussion of the status of these pipits can be found in Porter,R ,Birding World 18:169-172. 

In the diminishing light the bird was observed in the NE corner of Kelling Quags in the company of  five other wary Meadow pipits. It stood out. It gave the impression of a bulkier looking pipit with a dark head. Over the following days, in differing light conditions, this impression was clearly false. 

The pipit was no bulkier than any of the other Meadow Pipits and, given revealing light, did not have a dark head but showed a diffuse and treaked linnet-grey head. The throat, submoustachial stripe, breast and belly colour showed a uniform wash in the yellowish-orange spectrum suggesting a warm saffron hue. The streaking to the lower breast and upper belly seemed less prominent. 

Otherwise, it showed the plumage characteristics, size and shape of the other Meadow Pipits present. 

This high contrast and colourful pipit also had a permanent companion with a rather washed out yellowish-orange hue confined to the breast rather than the belly. Otherwise, this bird showed all the characteristics of Meadow Pipit.The full coloured pipit was still present on the 3rd June at Kelling Quags and the companion bird on May 3rd. It is suspected that these birds bred. 

As Meadow Pipits are considered to be clinal (Alstrom, P and Mild, K. 2003) and monotypic (Shirihai, H. and Svensson, L 2018 Vol 1) with western birds sometimes separated as ‘whistleri’ described as being darker with a red-oxide tinge, less greenish-tinged above and a deeper buff below. So these warm coloured pipits with diffuse grey head tones do not accord with so called ‘whistleri’ type birds. There is also very scant, if any, except speculative, evidence linking orange-yellow washed pipits with whistleri-type birds. 

So not-whistleri bird/s at Kelling. 

Other similar birds have been seen over many years in the Cley/Blakeney area, and beyond, and, together with breeding being assumed in 2016 on Blakeney Point, these striking pipits became, momentarily, for me, the scene and not the scenery. So it goes. 


Malcolm Davies 

June 2021. 

20210513 Meadow Pipit
Archetypal breast & throat base tones and streaking.