Monday, 28 September 2015

The only way to Phalarope is Essex

Digiscoped Wilson's Pharalope
Digiscoped Wilson's Pharalope
RSPB Vange Marsh
Twitchers delight
RSPB Vange Marsh
M40 disaster

Days out birding when you spend more time in car than birding are not my idea of fun but sometimes you have to bite the bullet if you want to see a bird that's on your most wanted list.

Wilson's Pharalope is a bird I've wanted to see since I started to bird seriously and given I'd put aside two days for birding I gave up a full day in the field to twitch a reported bird at RSPB Vange Marsh, Essex with the two Daves and Jarrad.  The 2 1/2 hour journey actually took 4 1/2 hours after a fatality on the M40 resulted in a total closure for 2 hours. 

The reserve was created in 2005 and has freshwater water with islands, saltwater lagoon, meadows and scrub land. We joined a handful of birders already looking at the bird on the far side of the lagoon sadly we could still pick out its energetic feeding action using a scope. When the sun went in slightly it was easier to decipher the birds longer neck and plumage. The bird appeared to spend most time wading rather than swimming like other Pharalopes. 

Wilson's Pharalopes are an American wader that breeds in north America & west Canada. This looked to be a first winter bird that has just got lost on its first migration south. The birds in summer plumage are stunning however you would need to be very lucky to see one in breeding plumage in the UK. (I've added this video from Youtube of Wilson's Pharalopes feeding in America)

Other sightings whilst on the marsh included Cettis Warbler, three Little Stints, 30+ Redshanks, 15 Curlew, 30 Shoveler, Hobby, Kestrel six Snipe, 100 Lapwing, 40 Black-tailed Godwit, two Green Sandpiper and three Ruff.

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