Friday, 21 September 2012

Rock Pipits

As with our Whimbrels and Choughs, we are colour ringing Rock Pipits. Please look out for them on the mainland. Any sightings can be reported via the BTO web site

The reason for this is to try and discover if there are any seasonal differences in the island's population and mainly in an attempt to find if that any of our wintering birds are of the Scandinavian race A.p.littoralis. In a few weeks more Rock Pipits will arrive on the island and we hope that some will show characters of the Scandinavian race.

The portable funnel trap on the beach over the pipit's favourite sea weed patch

Ben getting the birds into the catching cage at the end
A fine Rock Pipit
A fine selection of colours are added to the legs. - To report sightings the colour and positions of each ring needs to be noted and on which leg the metal ring is on.
 Rock Pipit (left) with Meadow Pipit

 The new olive fringed greater coverts on the inner wing of the Meadow Pipit show us that this bird was hatched this summer.

Below are some images taken a few years ago of two completely different looking Rock Pipits. The bird on the left was considered to be a Littoralis Pipi. Note the much whiter outer tail feathers (similar to Water Pipit), The bird is larger, paler and greyer, with slightly browner legs, more diffuse streaking.

We are hoping to catch more and add colour rings, but since we began the colour ringing four years ago, we have trapped 350 nominate Rock Pipits, but NO Littloralis!

Sorry for those who looked for this post following Marc's Tweet about it. I inadvertently published the post, then deleted it


  1. Good luck! Nice to see a side-by-side comparison of the two pipit species.

  2. Great Steve. Hope to get a few on the Orme soon. Do they take to a spring trap?

  3. Hi Rob, not very well in spring traps, but if you have an area of sea weed they will come to a small trap which only takes ten mins to assemble and will fit in the boot of a biggish car. If you get the chance to come over again, I can let you have a look at ours. Have you thought about staying here for a week. We have room in a quad room sharing with SHR and RJ on 13th!

  4. Sounds great, facts and figures in last sentence a concern though!

  5. Great post as usual Steve - interesting stuff.