"One Rock Pipit stood out as being another excellent example of identifiable littoralis or Scandinavian Rock Pipit though a different individual to the pale legged bird of a last week. Extensive yellow on the bill, very pale underparts with little streaking, seemingly white edges to outer tail feathers but indistinct supercilium and subtle smudging on the flanks ruling out Water Pipit." I wrote a few days ago.
My 'extreme littoralis' has morphed into Newbiggin's first Water Pipit and the bird is still present today. Thanks largely to the sharp eyes of ex-county recorder Ian Fisher, a cold vigil by another ex-county recorder Mike Hodgson this morning and some oiling the discussion wheels by Stef Mcelwee and Jane Turner along the way.
Ian highlighted the rump colour on this individual and flagged up a number of other characteristics that whilst they can be present on both littoralis and spinoletta in combination point towards this being the latter.
In addition Mike saw the tail pattern on the bird today, something that eluded me on Friday and is happy that this is similar to the other wintering Water Pipits that have occurred in Northumberland albeit a very dull individual.
I headed along the beach to join Mike this morning though failed to see the bird as it was absenting itself for lengthy periods though the tide was low and Mike had noted it flying out onto the rocks at Beacon Point on at least one occasion.
I've learned a fair bit over the last 24 hours, not least that I really need to invest in the Pipits & Wagtails guide, my initial reaction on first sight was "ooh that could be a Water Pipit" I then talked myself out of it largely based on the lack of a bright super behind the eye and the poorly marked nature of the covert tips as well as what looked like coalescing flank streaks (albeit faint ones) and breast streaking that looked smudged rather than classic Water Pipit to my eyes. Images taken in warm light highlighting the brown tone, or so I thought. Well, worth checking the bird out though.