American Pipit - January 21, Morro Creek

Kaaren Perry

On Friday morning I had stopped by Morro Creek mouth basically to see if there were any interesting gulls there.  Just a few Westerns were bathing but while I stood there a small passerine flew in.  An American Pipit, common winter visitor to our county but often seen at a distance. This one had landed almost at my feet. I took a few photos and went on my way.  Later I decided to learn a little more about the species.  First surprise was that they are are in the same family as the wagtails, Motacillidae.  Both species are small passerines with medium to long tails that they often are seen wagging.

This often inconspicuous migratory songbird  occurs throughout North America and south to El Salvador.  They are commonly found in SLO county during the winter season in large flocks foraging in agricultural fields and in smaller groups along the shorelines 

Next time you see a little bird walking quickly and often slowly "wagging" its tail as it is poking around looking for insects you might want stop and take another look. Maybe it's an American Pipit! Not flashy colored but certainly interesting. 

Kaaren Perry
Morro Bay