Sunday, 4 October 2009

Farmoor Rock Pipit

On Saturday I got a text saying that a pair of rock pipits were about on Farmoor causeway. Of course once again I was busy all day but I was more confident that they might still be around the next day and indeed on Sunday I got another text saying that there were five there first thing that morning. Finally at around 11am I was free to get down there, taking L along with me. L actually quite likes going there as he's really into boats at the moment. The prospect of some good boating action together with some biscuits and crisps to keep him going means that he's usually a fairly willing companion.

The weather was quite nice after the previous day's strong winds but, as usual for a Sunday, it was busy along the causeway as well as on Farmoor II with all the boats and wind surfers. About half way along the causeway I saw a flock of five pipits buzzing around ahead of me and sure enough three of them were rock pipits, the other two being meadows. They were a bit flighty and there was no chance of a photo at that point. Still there was an obliging dunlin along the shore line which allowed me to take some close photos. In fact he was a little too close: digiscoping seems to struggle if the bird is too near but one or two of the shots came out reasonably well. There was also a female/juvenile wheatear along the causeway and I managed to get one clear shot of it with a nice background which came out quite well.

The obliging dunlin

The dunlin, even closer up though its not a classic portrait

The one good shot of the wheatear with a nice uniform background.

On the way back the rock pipits had returned and were better behaved feeding by the wooden sailing observation huts. I managed at least a reasonably focussed record shot of one of them. Having the meadow pipits there as well gave a good comparison between the two though I didn't manage a side-by-side photo.

A record shot of one of the three rock pipits.

Oxon County List 2009
I was pleased to have caught up with this bird which I had missed in the spring passage. Judging from past entries on the Farmoor blog, the first week in October seems to be the usual time of the year to catch returning rock pipits and a few have been seen inland elsewhere also in the last few days. Just one more to get my initial target of 180 birds for the county year list with any more than that being bonuses. One of my fellow county year listers is now on 188 and is in sight of the county year list record of 193. I really hope that he gets it: he deserves it for the amount of time and effort that he's put in to it.

179 Rock Pipit 4/10/2009 Farmoor Reservoir

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