A long time ago, sometimes in the 70’s or early 80’s I watched an old black & white British movie called “The Tawny Pipit”, a story about a fighter pilot in WW2 recovering from his injuries who discovers a pair of Tawny Pipits nesting in a UK wheatfield. The film can be seen on YouTube here. I’m not sure if the species has ever actually bred in the UK, or even attempted to, but the movie installed a life-long love of the species which has since been rewarded by finding numerous birds here in France where they are the northern limit of their west coast population in the Loire Atlantique département. In recent years one or two sites have held birds throughout the summer and this year was no exception with at least one bird present at La Courance near St. Brevin-les-Pins and another two a few kilometres south. In between wader counts for work on 24th May I walked out into the area where the bird at La Courance had been seen and within minutes I heard the distinctive call followed by the appearance of the bird in flight. The icing on the cake was that the bird effectively found me and flew in to land only 10m away ! Over the next 30 minutes I enjoyed superb views as it fed among the little sand dunes among the tussocks of grass and managed a few decent photos.
Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris), La Courance, Loire Atlantique, May 2017