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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!

30 March, 2016

Rock Pipit: on the rocks

The rocky limestone of the Purbeck and Portland coasts is home to a good number of rock pipits (Anthus petrosus). It is not a common bird nationally but not uncommon here in Dorset in the right places.
All pipits are much the same to look at really; streaky brown back with a 'thrush-like' spotted front and telling a rock pipit from meadow pipit can be a bit daunting until you realise that you find the rock pipit on rocks, and meadow pipit in grassland habitats! If only it were that simple for some other species and their allotted English names! Garden warbler in a English country 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 rocky perch 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 winter and at inland sites where there is water present, such as watercress beds.    
Rock Pipit: on the rocks