With the twins in tow and a whole two degrees extra on the thermometer we went to the beach at St Mary's Island this morning, primarily to find and photograph the Water Pipit if it still remained. A car park chat with Tim Dean suggests it may have departed.
We stayed a while and whilst the kids did sand and seaweed I wandered about looking at the Rock Pipits. One and possibly a second are starting to show good signs of Scandinavian Rock Pipit littoralis as a result of the pre-breeding moult. Hugging the steep mud banks most of the time as they were, left me facing into the morning sun, not the best conditions but hey ho.
I think the last three show the slight pinkish wash just starting to show on the throat and breast and the plainner grey colour starting to come through on the crown and ear coverts as well as the thin malar line quite well. Add this to the whitish outer tail feather visible in the first image and it all points to littoralis. As mentioned a few posts back NTBC now have a good paper on Rock/Water/Scandinavian ID for anyone interested.
This may well be a second slightly less advanced littoralis again beginning to look grey around the head and with a decent supercilium, whitish looking outer tail etc.