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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

15 March, 2012

Rock Pipit (Anthus petrosus)

Rock Pipit (Anthus petrosus)

The rocky limestone of the Purbeck and Portland coasts is home to a good number of Rock Pipits. Not a common bird nationally but not uncommon here in Dorset in the right places.

Pipits are all much the same really, streaky brown back with a 'thrush-like' spotted front and telling Rock Pipit from Meadow Pipit and Tree Pipit can be a bit daunting until you realise that you find the Rock Pipit on rocks, Meadow Pipit in grassland habitats and Tree Pipits in trees! If only it were that simple for some other species and their allotted English names! Garden Warbler in a garden for example, I don't think so ...

Like other pipits the male Rock Pipit has a lovely 'parachute' display, flying up and then gliding down, making a piping sound as it descends to a prominent roack and you can see them doing that from late March through until mid-May.

The Rock Pipit and the Water Pipit, although named as separate species are considered to be almost one and the same but Water Pipits are usually found in land and sites where there is water present, such as watercress beds.

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Find out more about the nature of Dorset at www.natureofdorset.co.uk