Almost Robined Out of a +1

Howdy everyone out there in Blogland.  Just looked at the date and realized I am running a bit behind this month.  Made it into the 20’s this month with a weak showing on the posts so far.  The end of the month comes quick around here especially when it closes just after a race weekend.  “Need to train, no, need to get a blog out, no wait, HAVE to train, but I need to get a post out, no, what you need to do is run up that damn hill so you are ready for that demoralizing course, but the bl…” – maybe I should stop talking to myself during training runs ha.   Truth is, the answer is always train and sacrifice sleep for posts.  Speaking of posts, how about we get to tonight’s feature.

American Pipit - Texas Gulf Coast December 2016

Hit the jump to read more about this Robin-like bird.

This bird comes courtesy of… well… Texas.  I know, that isn’t too specific being our largest state, but a bit of a confession is due here.  I can’t remember where this bird was photographed.  Usually when in doubt I can triangulate with shots before and after it.  This time, that didn’t help as these shots were isolated from the others.  Somewhere along the Texas Gulf Coast (guess I can narrow it down a bit) this bird caught my eye and made its way into the tin.  I do recall taking a minimal number of shots wherever that was thinking it was a young or female Robin that had not yet developed its rich orange and brown hues.  It was not until the digital darkroom that it became apparent that this was NOT a Robin.  Nope, this is an American Pipit.  Let me restate that – this is my FIRST American Pipit.

American Pipit - Texas Gulf Coast December 2016

For a bird that covers all of North American and Central America at some point in the year you would think I would have come upon it before.  Not ruling out that I’ve been mistaking this bird for a Robins all this time.  However, now I know what to look for – the white eye-ring, the buff eyebrow ad the two-toned skinny bill (which is what was confusing with the Robin) and a streaky breast.  Will have to take the reference’s word on that last characteristic since none of my three shots showed that particular perspective (sorry Ron).  I did get my signature over the shoulder shot and unlike Zoolander gave me both right and left profile. This next shot I titled “Put my feathers on backwards”

American Pipit - Texas Gulf Coast December 2016

Now that I know what to look for in the field, hopefully I’ll be able to bring you back a better set of pictures and the additional perspectives.  Have to go with what I have today which is sufficient to give a proper ID.  Being a new bird, let’s quickly see what interesting facts to pass on.  Cornell indicated that it appears similar to Sparrows, but made no mention of it being confused with Robins.  Odd since there was no confusion here that it wasn’t a Sparrow.  Some of my readers across the pond may recognize this species as the Water Pipit.  Our varieties used to be lumped with that species, but it was determined that the North American variety and the Eastern Asiatic species were different than the Water group and thus separated out into distinct species.  Really, that is the most interesting facts Cornell has about this bird other than some story about 17 being buried in a snowstorm in Wyoming.  Weak.

All I have for you at the moment.  Legs need a rollout from the back to back runs this weekend and need to get ready for a couple of presentations for my day job scheduled for tomorrow.  Stay safe everyone!




One comment on “Almost Robined Out of a +1

  1. Ron

    Nice! I got pictures of American Pipits in the spring of 2017 in a field next to a small hotel I was staying at somewhere in Southern California before heading up to Yosemite. That little dirt field and the pond next to it were shockingly great for birds, as I recall. I think I actually got another new bird there, too. Something in the pond, I think. Weird.

    Anyway, as you say I’ve probably mistaken them for American Robins as well, so I’ve noted your three-item list so I’m sure next time.

    I’m surprised you didn’t research the 17 Pipits that were buried in the snowstorm in Wyoming…what a human interest story! 🙂 FYI, the relevant article, “Effects of a Severe Snowstorm on Subalpine and Alpine Populations of Nesting American Pipits”, appeared in the Journal of Field Ornithology in 1992. Spoiler: “younger nestlings apparently died of exposure”, and more of the alpine than the subalpine.

    Thanks for the post! If I hadn’t lucked out by going birding next to a hotel along the highway I would have been very jealous!


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