Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Red-necked Phalaropes

I have already posted some pictures of the Red-necked Phalaropes I found in Oppland which were taken in the late evening sun but I also took a number of pictures the next morning when the light conditions were completely different - it was cloudy and the warm colours of the previous evening had been replaced by much colder/greyer colours but when you can get so close to the birds then the pictures will always be good.

Red-necked Phalaropes are truly fascinating birds. The Scandinavian breeding birds are believed to mostly winter in the Arabian Gulf (although the Scottish breeding birds have been found to over winter in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru!). The birds swap the warmth of the tropics for the cold of the Scandinavian mountains and arrive at the very end of May/beginning of June when the first hatches of insects occur of small mountain lakes (providing the ice has melted...). They are very rarely seen on migration either spring or autumn and presumably migrate in one leg between breeding and wintering areas. They are also one of the few species (Dotterel being another) with reversal of the usual sexual roles. The female is the more colourful of the sexes and apparently does the courting. She then lays her eggs and leaves the male to incubate them and then look after the young. Not satisfied this she will also mate with another male if there are any going spare and lay eggs for him to care for.

They are incredidibly confiding species seemingly having no fear of humans at all and allow very close approach and even swim towards you. In addition to watching these birds feeding on newly hatched insects on the waters surface, and resting on rocks I also had a pair mating. I saw at least three pairs and a lone bird on the lake and the pairs were frequently flying around calling probably a sign that egg laying was about to happen.

Female Red-necked Phalarope closest with the male sleeping

in their natural, wild habitat!

the male about to jump on

getting there

still ice on the edges of the lake

three pairs but there was definitely 1 and maybe 3 other birds in the area

1 comment:

  1. Stunning little birds aren't they!Had the pleasure of seeing these birds last year in Iceland!!!!