I am on the coast in Italy, near Rome. Today I saw a pipit I am unsure of. It is probably a Meadow because that would be the most common, but it seems off. My Collins guide shows the Meadow with yellowish flanks (except worn summer), and the bird I saw was white flanks with black streaks. I also saw a reddish brown on the head in the light at times. The back (mantle) was heavily streaked but appeared to be white and dark streaking, not olive and dark brown as in my book. I thought it might be possible to be a Red-throated (but 1st year as the throat is not red).
1. Can a Meadow Pipit be white and black in the winter?
2. Would it be too far fetched to see a RT here at this time of year? I noticed that the book has them in the 'Heel" of Italy in winter.
I'm hoping some insight might allow me to id this bird.
I have some terrible photos. I was shooting into the sun at the end of the day, through a fence at quite a distance. Since either bird would be a lifer for me, I wanted to hold off posting photos until I can't possibly id myself. I will go back tomorrow now that I am better read about them, but I might not be lucky enough to see it again. Even so, I might still be confused. Any tips on what I should concentraqte on if I do see it again? It did some slight tail pumping, flew up about eight inches off the ground for a brief period twice, and was quite active in it's pecking on the ground.
Thanks for any help.
Edit: There was also a light black spot on the center of the breast (sort of like a Song Sparrow).