A Gallery of Scandinavian Rock Pipit

in Christchurch Harbour

For the last few years, it has been suspected that a percentage of the Rock Pipit that winter on Stanpit may be of the Scandinavian race littoralis . The first real claims were made in March 2005 and related to birds moulting into breeding plumage, click here for photos , The subsequent appearance of a particularly bright individual in February 2007 sparked renewed interest and many more photographs, a selection of which are posted below.

The location of winter pipits within the recording area can be used as an indicator as to the likely species or race. Rock Pipit seen on the Hengistbury shoreline or Stanpit river bank are almost exclusively Western European petrosus birds, some of which are thought to be resident and form the Hengistbury breeding population. However, Rock Pipit encountered on the saline marshes of Stanpit are candidates for littoralis race. Of course, many are simply indistinguishable from petrosus , but there are often individuals that stand out from the crowd. Of the other two pipit species, Water Pipit are rare, but are most often found on Priory Marsh, which is irrigated with fresher, river water; while, as would be expected, Meadow Pipit can be encountered almost anywhere.

Thanks to the photographers, who are not always the ones making the claims one way or another. Comments are welcome on any of the birds pictured below.

The bright individual 14th February 2007 - Chris Chapleo

An individual in winter plumage 15th February 2007 - Alan Hayden

Winter plumage 14th February 2007 - Chris Chapleo

15th February 2007 - Alan Hayden
The shot below is of a less conclusive bird, but frequenting the same area and showing some characteristics of littoralis .
Not really sure about this one? 15th February 2007 - Alan Hayden

Another good one - 24th February 2007 - Mark Andrews
This is an archive of features and news items that have previously appeared on this site.

White Tailed Eagle
Return to the
Features Index Page