Scandinavian Rock Pipit, Autumn 2013, ID Notes
Scandinavian Rock Pipit (Anthus petrosus littoralis), Wilstone Reservoir, Hertfordshire, 04/10/2012. A composite of record shots showing the main features of the Pipit. All but the last shot were taken in a hurry, within a 50 second interval, before it chucked it down with rain, I ran for the car and the Pipit disappeared!
I found this bird on a very blustery, unsettled day, making observation quite tricky! The call and the predominantly dark brown upperparts, with some dark streaking on the mantle and back, eventually ruled out Meadow Pipit. It was a case of getting better views/record shots to make sure the bird wasn't an early Water Pipit. The rump was a lighter brown, more olive/grey rather than the warm chestnut I'd expect from Water Pipit. Yellowy/buff underparts (rather than white) with dark, broad, blotchy, diffuse streaking (rather than the sharper, narrower, distinct streaking of Water Pipit) through the chest and flanks. Dark brown/red legs. As I mentioned, the call was that of either Rock or Water Pipit (they are fairly similar and difficult to pin down, especially when I've not heard one for a few months!). Ultimately, it's a Rock Pipit, likely migrating south from Scandinavian breeding grounds.