Friday 4 September 2020

Wilson's Phalarope

After the appearance of the White-winged Black Tern on Wednesday the 2 Sep 20 at Echna Loch / Echnaloch Bay late the following afternoon produced another stunning bird.

Initial reports from a visiting birder was of a small Greenshank type bird which was seen standing on floating vegetation on Echna Loch. Initial word went out of a probable Marsh Sandpiper but when photos of the bird appeared it was confirmed that the bird was in fact a Wilson's Phalarope.
Further photos reinforced that confirmation.
Then just before 7 a.m. this morning came word that the bird was still present. Within 15 minutes six local birders joined the finder at Echna Loch only to be told the bird had disappeared. After around 30 minutes of scanning the loch and the bay there was still no sign of the Phalarope but the White-winged Black Tern was still present feeding out in the bay and resting on the shore line. This was one lucky bird as later in the morning it had a close encounter with a Peregrine but fortunately survived.

Despite several birders looking over the course of the morning the Phalarope was not seen. Working on a hunch Burray birder Barrie went up to the pools below the trig point on the West side of Burray and re-found the bird on the most Westerly pool.
Several birders including myself made the trek up to the pools and managed to see it although at times it disappear behind tussocks of grass but at other times stood in open areas of the pool giving good but distant views.

I managed to get a few record shots.

Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)

This was a second life tick for me in three days so well chuffed that they were both on patch.
It was also a new species for the Burray bird list and only the third record for Orkney. The previous two records were interestingly also in the first week of September with the first at Birsay Bay on the 3 Sep 1981 and the second at Loch of Tankerness on the 5 Sep 2002.

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