Tuesday, March 20, 2007
A Cautionary tale to all Birders...
Weather even worse today with northerly gales , hail and snow showers. The sea was mountainous.
This morning I took Bunts around Seaton Point. On the shore I had a strange pipit with a load of wagtails and Rock Pipits. I thought it looked quite unlike a Meadow Pipit, being creamy buff below and quite 'contrasty'. I pondered Tree Pipit then remembered the snow showers and promptly decided to leave well alone. Of course it was a Meadow Pipit...
After doing some chores and having a trip to Morpeth I got home at about 1pm. There was a message on the pager saying that the Shorelark and Lap Bunting were still at Cresswell and, in brackets, there was a Tree Pipit! That was enough for me. I knew that bird this morning was different, so I gave RBA a call and reported my Tree Pipit too!
No sooner had I done this I thought that no one was ever going to believe a TP as early as this with these weather conditions so I set off to get a photo. Sure enough, the birds were still there and, yes, so was the pipit doing its thing, tail pumping an all. Scope was set up and the target focussed, all I had to do was take the snap. Until I realised that this bird was indeed the commoner relative, all be it a neat and tidy one.
Oh no, thats the reputation in tatters. What to do now? Easy. Use the two bird theory and say that the Tree Pipit had gone and there was only a Meadow Pipit there, after all, no one would know. Send the record in and Bobs your proverbial.
How many times do people actually do that I wonder? Well, not me that's for sure, so the next message to come out gave the news, 'The reported tree pipit at Seaton Point is a Meadow Pipit' Oh the shame of it all.
Excuses, er, none. Except that my bird did look different, I think it was one of these western type mipits, showing a very buff tone below. Does the race whistleri really exist?
After all that I decided to have a seawatch from the point. There was less movement than yesterday with Gannets only at about 60 per hour north, and a couple of Fulmars. Then, at only 50yds out, a juvenile Iceland Gull slowly drifted out of a snow squall and carried on north. This is my first here and will do very nicely after the Xmas Glaucous Gull. The problem with seawatching is that you have no chance of a photo so I knocked this sketch up so you get the gist of it.
89. Iceland Gull