American Pipit head turn in a stiff breeze – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I’ve been hearing American Pipits on the wing for a while now and yesterday I was happy to photograph several pipits while they perched on some rocks in northern Utah. I usually hear American Pipits, Anthus rubescens, before I see them. Because of their coloring it is easy to lose sight of these birds when they are on the ground because they blend in so easily but when they perch a bit higher they are easier to see.
American Pipit crouching on a rock – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
American Pipits prefer open country and during their breeding season can be found in alpine and arctic tundra or above the tree lines of tall mountains and during migration they prefer mudflats, plowed fields, marshes, coastal beaches and rivers. The pipits I photographed yesterday were feeding in a muddy field and when they perched on top of a pile of rocks I was able to get clear views of them.
American Pipit calling while perched on a rock – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 320, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
The pipits caught my eyes because they were flying around, chasing each other, perching on the rocks with their tails bouncing up and down and calling to each other.
American Pipits are known as Buff-bellied and Water Pipits in Europe and Asia and you can see in the text of this recording that the common name listed is Buff-bellied but that the scientific name is Anthus rubescens which is the correct scientific name for our American Pipit. I just wanted to clarify that.
American Pipit standing tall – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 320, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
It was nice to have great, unobstructed views of the pipits on the rocks against a soft blue sky. When I took this photo the pipit seemed like it had its eye on something in the distance and was on alert. This pipit hung around long enough for me to take a nice series of images of it.
American Pipit close to the ground – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I had a few opportunities with the American Pipits to photograph them on the ground, in most of those photos the light angle was off and I didn’t get catch lights in their eyes but this one was close to being on the ground near a muddy field and it showed light in the eyes.
American Pipit perched on a white rock – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 320, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
The pipits didn’t hang around for very long and before I knew it they took off to fly over the field calling as they went but even a few minutes with these subtle beauties is enough to delight me.
Life is good.