9:00 am

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As I was passing by a sandy/muddy flat at the base of a tussocky hill, Joe -- our bird expert -- grabbed me and asked, "Do you want to see a baby pipit?!" "Yes!" was my reply. So Joe led me back into the tussock grass and then pointed to the snowy base of one tussock lump and there was a big baby pipit, looking mostly like an adult except it still had some fluffy baby feathers and wasn't flying away from its home base. Joe said that its parents are going out and finding food to bring back to big baby.

Pipits are the only songbird on South Georgia and they were almost wiped out by the rat population that invaded the island from the whaling ships way back in the day. Pipits nest on the ground, so rats would come right along to the nests and eat the eggs. After so many years of this, the pipits were close to being no more. The South Georgia Heritage Trust undertook the huge project of eradicating the rat population from the island and thanks to that project, the rats appear to be gone! (The project is still monitoring the island for rats, but there's been no sign of them yet.)

After I wandered back to the muddy flat, I saw a couple more pipits, then one came flying right towards me and landed practically at my feet! It started poking around a bit in the sand, making its way right around me in search of food. Very cool and what a nice experience considering these guys were so endangered just a couple years ago :-)

Top photo: Baby pipit!
Middle and bottom photos: Pipit parent (?)

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