Wintering Littoralis Rock Pipit

One of the highlights of a clear the head/good for the soul three hour wander along the Boulmer to Howick stretch of coast in good low winter sun today was stumbling across a colour-ringed Rock Pipit, one of several; feeding on the insect life along the high tide mark. Luckily I was able to photograph the orange colour ring and read the three letter code as a result (PTZ). Home this afternoon I tracked the bird to a Norwegian colour ring scheme, confirming it as a littoralis race individual. Thanks to an amazingly quick response from the ringing scheme it appears this individual was ringed at Giske Ornithological Station on 9 August and is a 1st-winter male. It’s been present in the Boulmer area since 7th October, the ring details submitted on three occasions including today.

It’s pretty much accepted wisdom these days that most of the Rock Pipits wintering along British coasts are littoralis and that the individuals turning up at inland wetland sites during the Autumn are individuals moving overland to the west coast or beyond to Ireland for the winter. A quick google search on Giske Ornithlogical Station shows that over the last 2-3 years their colour-ringed Rock Pipits have been noted from Teeside, Cheshire, Lancashire and Kent for example.

If the weather remains as mild as it is currently I guess there’s every chance that this individual will see out the winter along that stretch of coast before moving back across the North Sea in March/early April.

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