Richard's Pipit at Kersall September 2008
Initial sighting and circumstances
The morning of September 20th 1998 had'nt been anything particularly out of the ordinary. A trickle of migrants ensured that there was enough to keep me busy at Eakring Flash, but that was about all. The decision to move on and check Penny Pasture Common and Hare Hill Wood for migrants, coincided with a sudden increase in migrant passage, so a vantage point along the edge of Hare Hill Wood was used.

Migrants consisted of mostly Swallows and House Martins, but also a few Meadow Pipits. All regular species. Deciding to walk north, a short distance along the track adjacent to the wood, led me past the long grass set-aside field and it was from here that the Richard's Pipit was flushed.

Flight views were good and down to within 20 metres or so, allowing some plumage detail to be noted. The most obvious thing was the distinctive flight-call, heard several times as the bird flew low south-west effectively cutting between the divided sections of Hare Hill Wood. Quickly moving to follow the bird's progress, it was watched continuing south-west, but remaining low. It appeared to be heading towards Penny Pasture Common and it was hoped that it had come down there. To this day, I still think that it never went far, but post-harvesting sees much of the area as stubble fields, so it could have come down anywhere.

The sighting coincided with good numbers on the East coast at and after the time.

The record - an official and personal viewpoint
This record was not accepted by the Nottinghamshire Records Committee, despite a detailed account and description of the bird being written at the time. Presumably, the rejection was either a) because it was flight-view only, or b) because of observer unfamiliarity? I don't know. If the former was the case, then no fly-over records should be considered or all should be accepted.

My own personal view is that within any committee records decisions, there should be consistancy. Whether it was accepted or not, does'nt really bother me personally. Like any other observer who has fly-over records rejected, they know what it was and if there was any doubt, then it would never have been mentioned.

Two other 1990's Richard's Pipit records based largely upon flight/flushed views and the Serin at Bestwood CP in March 1993 should therefore be removed from the county list; or opposingly, previously rejected fly-over Serin records at King's Mill Reservoir and Colwick CP be re-reviewed and accepted (both coming from observers with great familiarity of the species)

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