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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Corton Olive- backed Pipit

Having missed the OBP yesterday, (brilliantly found by James B), as I was working at Norwich, only driving past Corton at 6.10pm in the pitch darkness, I parked at the Corton church west car park at 7.35pm this morning. Conditions were misty and spitting with rain. I walked through to the field just north of the Church and this was bordered on the south and east by a large Sallow hedgerow. By the edge of the field was long grass and several tall weeds. Also here were about 10 birders including Ricky F, Phil H, Jeremy G, Rene B, and several others. Ricky had seen an interesting Pipit fly up from the long grass into the east hedge it remained silent in flight, intriguing! A co-ordinated walk through the long grass, first flushed a calling Meadow Pipit, and then the silent Pipit with an interesting looking dark back flew up to the east hedge. Rene did well to spot it perched just 2 feet off the ground, behind a large silvery leaved bush. I got my bins on it and instantly called it as "It's the Olive- backed!" It was of course the superb Olive- backed Pipit. I could see the striking cream supercilia, bordered above by the distinctive dark lateral crown stripe. The cream supercilia showed the characteristic supercilium drop at the rear of the ear coverts with the dark spot just underneath this. The back was a reassuring olive- green colouration. It then flew to the ground and walked on the ground before flying up and being seen breast on. It had a heavily streaked dark markings on the white and cream upper breast. I also noticed it pumping its tail another distinctive action of this species. It then flew down again and could not be seen. Regrettably, the time had now reached 8.35pm and I had to leave for work! Sadly no pictures of the bird due to the misty and wet conditions. After work, I drove to Warren Road, Gorleston in search of the RBF at the Anglian Water compound but I couldn't find the compound and the light was deteriorating fast. I tweeted for help and phoned James B and thanks to him and Andrew E for telling me that in my haste I had gone right past it. For the record, it is where the tarmacked road in the dip meets the sandy track in a dip where the houses end, the compound being on the west side of the road. The area had tall Sycamores meeting in the middle the crown of these touching in the middle. Problem was, I was over half way down the track towards Hopton Holiday Camp and had to rapidly retrace my steps. Unfortunately, the very poor light now hampered me & it failed to reveal either movement or the audible sound of the slight tacking call of this bird.

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