21 March 2010

Water Pipits at Neath Saltmarsh

The idea of a Pallid Swift this morning was very tempting, but in the end I decided to see whether the Water Pipits at the Neath saltmarsh would put on a show. I have had a couple of brief encounters with the species since the remarkable day earlier this winter when Barry found a party of 4 (possibly up to 12) birds, described here http://goweros.blogspot.com/2010/01/water-pipit-city.html. On advice taken that day, this morning was a good opportunity to search for them at high tide, where they are forced out of hiding when the inlets become flooded. There were at least 4 birds again today, mixed in with the more showy meadow pipits. Although, roles are reversed somewhat below with the Meadow Pipit behind the Water Pipit.
On to Baglan Bay in the search of my first migrant of the year. This female Wheatear was with at least 3 males inside the BP grounds. Also a Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni was in flight here.
A quick scan of the sea produced 3 Red-throated Diver and 22 Great Crested Grebe and a very distant Scoter sp (probable Velvet).


Barry Stewart said...

Nice one Mark. The body moult happens really quickly in Water Pipit and birds usually stick around to the end of the month, when most pretty much attain full breeding plumage. So worth checking again on the next run of high tides if you can.

Mark Hipkin said...

Thanks Barry, I'll do that. I saw one last weekend that was in winter clothes but the birds today were all going. I hope to catch a few in summer plumage. I've seen a few in the Alps but not this country. They look great in summer, very pretty for a pipit anyway!