John and I observed these birds while conducting the Juliaetta Lower Potlatch River CBC. We were at the US 12 Lenore Rest Area, Nez Perce County. Birds were on an island in the Clearwater River, roughly 46.512228, -116.559531.
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
This island was mainly large rocks and boulders.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
John and I started this segment at about 1130 am. We probablystarted viewing these birds about 1230 pm. Skies were overcast but light was good; we were facing north. Temps were mid 30s. Viewed at about 150 feet through 8 x 42, 10 x 42 binocs, and a 25X Bushnell spotting scope. John photographed the birds with his Nikon Coolpix P900. Observed the birds for about 15 minutes.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
No, not at all
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
No, not at all
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Brownish gray back. Whitish chest and buffy sides, both with dark streaks. Belly also whitish and clean. Whitish, unmarked throat. Dark legs. Dark thin bill. White outer tail feathers. Bobbed tail often.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Birds were actively walking/running and hopping among the rocks. Occassionally flitting from rock to rock, which is how we first noticed them.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
Almost immediately. I was a bit startled by them at first as this was a very late date for them and certainly unexpected. All of my other northern Idaho sightings are from Sep-Oct. But the tail bobbing and plumage quickly made me realize they were pipits.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I've seen American Pipits in Idaho nearly every year for the past 25 years. Nearly all of these were Sep-Oct observations at Mann Lake in Nez Perce County.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
More than three decades of serious birding. My expertise is above average.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (If any)
See photos in the eBird checklist. eBird checklist submitted the same day as the observations, 14 Dec 2016. Photos from John Hanna added a day or two later. This report prepared 12 Dec 2017. I felt guilty that it was almost time for this CBC again and I hadn't sent in a rare bird report!
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Documentation supports identification of American Pipit.
Diagnostic photos and god description
Photos and description were diagnostic
These were American Pipits. Interestingly, an American Pipit would not be considered rare on a CBC in northeastern Oregon where I live, and we're not really very far geographically from Nez Perce County.
Photographs are good.
Combination of good description and diagnostic photos. Make this positive identification.