I was having a day off. A busman’s holiday. Standing on the east bank at Cley I was photographing whatever flew by. A Meadow Pipit called, landed and sang a little. I glanced down at the field and what I saw took me back a little.
Not the usual olive green and dull white pipit but an orange breasted creature. The first thing that went through my mind was Red throated Pipit, but this was quickly excluded when it called again and had a good look at other plumage features. Water Pipit had been reported here the day previously and indeed several people passing asked if that’s what it was; some were sure it was! Despite the peachy colouration and supressed breast streaking the bird had pale legs and a lack of supercillium and it called like a Meadow Pipit. It was a Meadow Pipit … just an odd one.
Trevor Williams has kindly commented that it may be the race ‘whistleri’ from Western Scotland and Ireland. He points to a good article on this race in Birding World. (ref Porter, R ‘Orange Breasted Meadow Pipits – an identification pitfall’ Birding World 18 (4) 169-172). However, I’ve been to Ireland and Western Scotland … lots of times, and I’ve never seen birds like this one. Maybe they are from further north and further east? … or maybe it’s just an oddly marked Mipit! #lotstolearn