Friday, 20 September 2013

Grey phalarope at the bill

Two day trip down to Dorset to visit the mother in law always entails a bit of birding as well. Got up early to do down the bill, hopefully to pick up some Balearics which are moving through. Not many moving though so more in hope than expectation. Got down there just after dawn and there was already a strong movement of swallows and mipits passing through. Both I imagine were in the hundreds per hour. There were also a number of wheatears on the ground, rock pipits and alba wagtails in the cliffs and a peregrine bouncing around.
The sea was pretty quiet though. In the first hour I got 4 groups of common scoter, numbering 5,4,5 and 9. Lots of gannets were going past, a few auks probably razorbills and one very distant shearwater. Looked whitish underneath so probably a Manx.
I was about getting ready to give up when I picked a small greyish bird flying over water in a petrel like manner, then coming down onto the water. When it came back up I picked up a white wing bar. It immediately looked like a phalarope and I knew there was one reported yesterday. Checking the I'd in the book, it lingered for about 5 minutes or so letting me firm up on it being a grey phal. Only the second I've ever seen, so a bonus although I never did get the Balearics!