Friday, May 04, 2007

Wilson's Phalarope

Wilson's Phalarope, Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire, 4.5.07 (digiscope)
Not a bird I was expecting to see this week, this magnificent Wilson's Phalarope was my first in the UK. I'm glad I waited until an adult (and judging by its brightnss probably a superior female) turned up before I twitched one. This was also my first ever visit to the excellent Grafham Wter despite it being so close to Peterborough. It wasn't an easy bird to photograph (mainly through heat haze), but is was close enough for excellent views. The photos don't do justice to the subtle Red-backed Shrike blue-grey of the head and the salmon-peach of the breast, or the transition from black eye tripes to red-brown shoulder straps. Gorgeous.
It was using three main feeding strategies. Firstly, it was closing its eyes and swinging its head a few times quickly underwater, rather like an Avocet or a supersonic Shoveler. Secondly, it would occasionally do rapid spins on the spot like a Red-necked Phalarope. The third strategy was to follow the Shelducks, Gadwalls and Mallards and see what they stirred up, while picking repeatedly from the surface.

No comments: