Monday, 20 October 2014

Olive-backed Pipit, Sunderland, County Durham - Saturday 18th October 2014

 Olive-backed Pipit, Roker, Sunderland, Co Durham - 18th October 2014

Olive-backed Pipit had been threatening to become a bogey bird for me. I'd dipped two in the last couple of years, at Flamborough Head and Spurn. Although, on both those occasions I'd travelled to go birding rather than twitching a specific bird, but I still spent many hours vainly trying to conjure an OBP from long grass and leaf litter.

Not this time. The bird showed beautifully from the moment I arrived, although you may doubt that from the quality of my photos... In fact, I got my "eye in" well enough to be the first pick it out several times after its frequent disappearances. Maybe it's true what they say about people who are (like me, practically) deaf: they have improved peripheral vision. Shame I struggle with calls though.

 Olive-backed Pipit, Roker, Sunderland, Co Durham - 18th October 2014

A very attractive pipit. Sleek and slim, and moving with easy grace through the leaf litter, like an otter through water. One of the most striking features where the dark ear-coverts contrasting with the large creamy supercilium behind the eye.  Likewise the creamy-yellow throat and bold black breast-streaks. The lower mandible and legs were very pink, and the mantle were as olive-coloured as the name suggests, with fine streaking on the head becoming more diffuse down the back (see photos below).

 Olive-backed Pipit, Roker, Sunderland, Co Durham - 18th October 2014

After the Pechora Pipit I saw on Shetland last month, I've finally developed an appreciation of pipits. There were all LBJs to me before...

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