Iceland – Red-necked Phalaropes

You get a lot of Phalaropes for your Icelandic Krona on Flatey Island.

_MG_7540

They were ridiculously unfazed by humans, even at close quarters. This series of shots were taken laying on my front, lens at the waters edge of a large shallow ditch. The area also hosted a colony of noisy Arctic Tern. Above, the sky echoed to the sound of winnowing Snipe as they dive bomb over head. A sound that is almost heard everywhere in Iceland along with their curious coughing song delivered from fence posts and even roof tops.

_MG_7585

The island also has many pairs or Eider, Redshank, Snipe & Snow Bunting the later of which had fledged young. One home owner called me over to see an Eider that nests every year near his wood shed. “Do you like Eider” he said, then led me over until I almost stood on the perfectly camouflaged nest and occupant… He laughed.

_MG_7591 copy

Activity around the pool is frenetic, lots of quarrelsome goings on within small groups. They vastly out number Grey Phalarope which breed in the closed off areas of the island.

_MG_7592

A “drab” male

_MG_7521

_MG_7370

Interactions seem complex, I couldn’t work out who was with whom. I must do some reading about the breeding biology and social behaviour of these “gender” swapping birds!.

_MG_7568 (1)

This is the first time I’ve seen Red-necked Phalaropes since the world learnt they don’t, as has been assumed for many years, spend the winter in the North Atlantic but in fact travel to the Pacific coast of Peru. It’s here they while away the northern hemisphere winter. An amazing and unique East to West migration route. Another illuminating insight thanks to GPS tracking.

About BEACHY BIRDER

Birder
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s