Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Blyth's Pipit and Smew, Pugney's, West Yorkshire

This morning I took the opportunity to call in at Pugney's Country Park at Wakefield, West Yorkshire, to look for the long staying Blyth's pipit. It's not that I've been putting off going, it's just that for most of its stay I was in Cyprus.

The bird is generally seen only in flight, but today I was lucky enough to see it perched in a willow tree for several minutes and had decent views of both its front and back. I managed to get four other birders onto it before it flew, and this was the first time they had seen it perched up in four visits.

It's a large pipit, quite similar looking to Richard's pipit with a long hind claw, which I could clearly see when it turned around to show off it's back. When it did fly, it gave a characteristic yellow wagtail like call "pshiu".

Also at Pugney's today, a cracking drake smew.

UK life: 403; Year: 282 (Blyth's pipit)

I've lost track of how many new species I've seen this year, but it will be something like 10 in the UK and another 8 in Cyprus. I'll have a tally up at New Year.

Through the scope it was actually a very good view of the bird, but I guess there's too much background for this to ever be a good photo!

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