Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens is known in North America as American Pipit, and was formerly conspecific with Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta.
It occurs in our area only as a spring and fall migrant on its way to or from rocky, sloping tundra in high latitudes where it breeds, usually close to water.
Miriam and I were delighted to discover nineteen individuals in a field of last year's corn stubble, scurrying around and searching for food. It is a fairly nondescript species and it was the movement and short bursts of flight that first attracted us to their presence, before we heard them over the noise of the car engine. It was only when we shut off the motor and settled in to enjoy them that their vocalizations became clear and audible.
In another field close by, we detected a pair of Killdeer Charadrius vociferus with young.
As can be seen in the photograph above the young birds camouflage well with their surroundings, but the mother quickly called them to her while the male tried to distract us with a broken-wing display.
The precocial offspring of this species are equipped for life from the moment they leave the egg, but many hazards await them on their journey to adulthood.
We can only hope that the care of dedicated and resourceful parents will assure their survival so that they too can return next year to breed.