Saturday, 18 September 2010

Fairhaven Lake - Red-necked Phalarope

With news of an obliging Red-necked Phalarope and a possible ‘photo call’, Yvonne didn’t need much convincing that a day out of Shropshire ought to be beckoning? With Blackpool tower on the skyline we were soon up in Lnacashire - Fairhaven lake in Lytham to be precise.

A gallery of birders and ‘lenses’ was immediately apparent so we joined those assembled.

Close up feather detail was not going to be an option as the Phalarope had stuck like glue, picking flies off the water surface, cruising up and down close to the bank of the North?? Island. Other than flights to and from the other side, nothing was going to break this habit!

Here he comes.......

The bird was a juvenile and there were quite a few comments how similar it is in appearance to a juvenile Grey Phalarope. Key differences were easily seen at close range…..

The very thin all black bill and head with solid black cap, white stripes on the mantle/scapulars.....

I didn’t expect flight photography to be on the agenda but with the Red Arrows performing overhead, I have to say that aviation photography is a tad easier than birds!

The Phalarope also got involved at low level (no coloured smoke sadly!) I opted for (pre) manual focus on the likely flight line when it flew back into view. Despite the distance and persistent rain now falling, I got one or two keepers from using this technique!

And finally, Red-necked Phalaropes are small - Dunlin size at most, nice comparison with a Mallard.....

If the Upton Warren Grey Phalarope sticks overnight, might be worth a look?