Scandinavian (Littoralis) Rock Pipit, Black Rock, 7th March 2015 (David O'Connor).
(you can click the image for a closer view)
Early March is the time that the dowdy winter plumage of Scandinavian Rock Pipits start to be replaced to reveal the subtle pinkish hue to the throat and upper breast, and grey-blue feathers around the head and mantle. This one at Black Rock was one of three seen in Kerry yesterday, with another two seen at Kilshannig that morning. Question is, are these birds present in Kerry all winter, unrecognised (and unrecognisable), anonymous amongst our local resident Rock Pipits? There's currently no way to tell them apart here in winter, but by the second week of March, a dash of pink and blue will give the game away.
Distribution of Rock Pipit (Yellow = summer, Green = all year, Blue = winter). The Scandinavian Rock Pipits will winter from southern Norway, west and south into Europe. How many winter in Ireland is unknown (www.hbw.com).