You are a brave woman wanting to take on these lbj's front on.
Well done to you.
Basically you will find 5 species of pipits at rietvlei: buffy, plainbacked, long-billed, grassveld(african) and striped.
Your first bird should be easier to id as I am sure that you will have a second picture for us to id from.
But my guess for now would be african pipit based on the following:
There seems to be a distinct malar stripe together with heavy streaking on the chest.Heavy streaking will rule out the other contender, long-billed. The back also isn't as plain as I would've liked for plain-backed and buffy pipits and the malar stripe and heavy streaking would rule them out completely as well. The streaking does not reach the belly area as it should with striped pipit and the back isn't all that striped anyways. Looking forward to a pic from a different angle on this bird before I make a definite decision.
Your second pic makes it very difficult to id the pipit as well, but to me it looks like it does not have the distinctive malar stripe of grassveld and long-billed pipits. it also does not show the distinct streaked chest of either those two nor that of a striped pipit.
The main distinct factor between the remaining two, plainbacked and buffy pipit is the lower jaw colour. To me it looks yellowish(I've ran in and out of the room a few times to see what my first view on the colour would be, yellowish. I went for coffee and came back and it still showed yellowish, I had a whiskey and it showed blue, but I think the whiskey bottle might have slipped a bit there. I've even asked WTD and she said yellow as well
) which points to plainbacked pipit as buffy pipit's shows pink.
A few tips: the moment you get a pipit, try and take as many pics as you can of it. "Jap" ka V6 it if you must, I don't care as long as you nail that shutter button 6 love! If you see a pipit with streaking or a malar stripe get pics of the outer tail feathers, buffy = long-billed and white = plainbacked. If you get a pipit with no malar stripe and little streaking on the chest get a close up of the bill as explained earlier.
Good luck there on your LBJ's and trying to id them. I am taking serious note of that fast growing 218.
Latest Lifer(s): Sooty Falcon, Black Coucal, Short-tailed Pipit, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Stierling's Wren-Warbler (639)
Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinmanhttp://www.laine-dirk.co.za