Before leaving Friday’s walk along Sully beach, I have another bird encounter to share.
There were a lot of Rock pipits foraging amongst the rocks and piles of seaweed, more than I have seen before on Sully beach.
One bird was reasonably close to where I was sitting so I had the camera up, trying to get some photos of it, when I noticed what seemed like rather odd behaviour.
The bird hopped down from the seaweed on to a flat stone and started to stamp its feet and shuffle back and forth, looking for all the world like it was practising its line-dancing moves.
Because I had the camera up to my face and was zoomed in on this one bird – let’s call him Rocky – I didn’t realise that there was actually another Rock pipit standing very close by.
Rocky was focused intently on this other bird. He puffed up his chest and strutted about and did some more line-dancing moves, but the other bird didn’t seem very impressed. If this had been springtime, I would have said Rocky was trying to impress a female but it’s autumn.
Next thing, Rocky’s done with the dancing and flew straight at the other bird.
They bumped chests, flapped wings and generally fluttered about for a couple of minutes, presumably each bird trying to assert its dominance through this display.
The other bird relinquished the rock, and the seaweed, to Rocky, who looked rather pleased with his success. I’ve since read that Rock pipits can be very territorial so I assume Rocky was defending his patch on the beach from the intruder. It was certainly fascinating to watch.