Tree or Meadow?

From Bradnor Hill

In the context of Bradnor Hill on the Welsh edge of Herefordshire you’d think meadow. This National Trust property is basically a golf course, which means greens surrounded by scrub, such as pictured. This is archetypal meadow pipit habitat not much blessed with trees.

Even so, one of the birds I encountered had – and I quote from my scribbled drawing – an eyebrow, unmarked upperparts and obvious pale wingbars with clear spotting above the median covert bar. A-ha! you exclaim, sounds like a tree pipit. And I’d have to agree. Sadly, the bird refused to sing or display or anything that would have clinched it. A meadow pipit can look like that in some of the particulars but in all four?

So, guess what I’d actually gone to the limits of England to look for. Only dotterels again, that’s what. Dip number umpteen and several there. But Bradnor is a fantastic spot with views visible in the photo to Hay Bluff and the Brecon Beacons. Skirrid is further to the left and behind the photographer (me), up north, lie the Long Mynd and Clee.

I rounded the day off with another disappointing run over Hay Bluff. That road down to Llanthony passes the worst of British moorland, chomped almost to bare soil by grazing. The next road west, up from Forest Coal Pit looks like it should be more productive but it doesn’t run all the way through. Funny how birding changes one’s perspective of the landscape.

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