Sunday, 14 August 2016

A matter of perception ...

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)

Often overlooked due its unfortunate reputation for being an uninteresting species, A. pratensis is one of the most widespread and ubiquitous of all UK species. However, flocks of migrant A. pratensis are always worthy of closer scrutiny since they can be a good carrier for wagtails and rarer pipit species.

In spring, A. pratensis arrives back in Sussex to breed and many more pass through heading further north. Passage can begin in late February, but March and, to an extent, April are the key months. Although some birds may remain in Britain to overwinter, in autumn, most British birds head south, with many passing through Sussex on the way. Autumnal movements gain momentum in September through October and are often very evident at coastal sites with birds moving along the coast. Confusingly, such movements can be eastwards or westwards but the latter generally predominate and are often into the prevailing wind.

Throughout Sussex it is a bird of open, extensive rough and grassy habitats, from sand dunes and salt marshes to wet grassland, heaths and unimproved chalk grassland, where it feeds and nests on the ground. Take more attention next time you see one and appreciate the fact that it is common …


Scott-Ham, M. (1996). Meadow Pipit. Birds of Sussex. Sussex Ornithological Society, pp. 398-399.
Scott-Ham, M. (2014). Meadow Pipit. The Birds of Sussex. Thetford: British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Books on behalf of the Sussex Ornithological Society, pp. 542-543.

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