American (Buff-bellied) Pipit – breeding plumage!

18 05 2009

Stopped in at Allen’s Meadows on the way back from dropping the van after a wonderful weekend in NY State (see post here). It was later in the morning, so activity had somewhat subsided and a Canada Warbler was the only one singing when I arrived (there was one in my yard this morning as well!)

After a little wander around, I picked up the sound of a pipit on the freshly turned over community gardens. It seemed quite late to have pipit, but there it was pootling around on the soil picking up worms and other bugs. Although uncommon in the state pipit is expected at Allen’s in fall and early spring, I spoke to a couple of friends though and this seemed like a fairly exceptional late date. Most exciting was that it was in breeding plumage (uncommon enough not to be illustrated in the little eastern Sibley). It wasn’t quite as magnificent as the Rocky Mountain subspecies that I had recently seen in Colorado (illustrated here) but it was still quite a striking little bird. Hard to do it justice with these record shots (it was quite flighty), but it gives you the idea (and this illustrates what your average non-breeding bird looks like).