Monday, November 11, 2013

Grey Phalarope

The Grey Phalarope is a scarce migrant wader that passes through our region in autumn and is often associated with autumnal gales. They breed in the high Arctic region and as such have little contact with people, hence these birds can be quite tame and approachable. Although one individual I saw at Crosby Marina a few years back was fearless towards people but flew off at the sight of dogs. I can only assume that this is a result of sharing its breeding area with Arctic Foxes.
A juvenile Grey Phalarope was present at Gronant, North Wales for a few days at the end of October. It spent most of its time at the north end (read inaccessible end!) of a large lake situated in the sand dunes. It employed the usual phalarope feeding technique of spinning on the water to disturb food items in the mud of the lake. But I have never see a Grey Phalarope spin so much; it was a veritable grey spinning top! And patience was certainly a virtue, as after a long wait it flew down the lake to a small bay where it gave stunning views.

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