The Serendipitous Pipit

When Dayna and I go to Otter Slough, we enter and leave through Dudley. But on our last trip, we searched the fallow crop fields to the west, looking for the Short-eared Owl reported there in January.
We didn’t find the owl, though there were plenty of Horned Larks and Savannah Sparrows. While trying to photograph a small flock of larks, this guy popped out of the roadside ditch and posed for us.

I was hoping to find a Lapland Longspur mixed with the larks, but I hadn’t even considered finding a Pipit. I hadn’t seen one in the area before though I know they are regular visitors (there are eBird reports for most years). I didn’t have a photo of one before, so the unexpected opportunity tickled the crap out of me.

They’re not colorful, but they are photogenic if only subtly so. I watched this one for less than a minute before he took flight and disappeared, headed for the far side of the field.
I’m sure I’ve run into them before and overlooked them. I tend to ignore the little brown and gray birds on the ground and focus my attention on the raptors. But now that they’re on my radar, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for them.

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