Elusive Wilson's Phalarope

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10 years 10 months ago #4411 by nkgray
nkgray created the topic: Elusive Wilson's Phalarope
Gordon and I went to Barberspan yesterday to hunt for the Wilson's Phalarope. We managed to locate a possible candidate, which flew off before we'd really got a good look at a it. However, size was right, in flight the bird was silent, and we could clearly see a white rump and grey tail. Great so far. We were not able to get a good fix on where the bird landed and I ran off in the general direction and took hand-held, full zoom and manual focus shots of a small wader in grass at the water's-edge.

Later processing showed that it was a Wood Sandpiper, beginning to acquire its breeding plumage! All the other Wood Sandpipers that we disturbed called on take-off and in flight, and tails showed the typical lightly banded appearance, not appearing fully grey. I had probably not photographed the same bird that we had seen taking off. Neither Gordon nor I was comfortable to ID our bird as a Wilson's or a Wood Sandpiper, so the mega-tick will have to wait another decade or two!!!!

The day was not a total loss as we saw a total of 85 birds including Pink-billed Lark and Grey-backed Sparrowlark, which I managed to photograph. Everywhere we walked we flushed African Quailfinch without ever getting any sign of them before they took to flight. Eventually Gordon pin-pointed the position where one landed and I managed to get a half-decent shot of this male (See Phtography Forum for these pics).

Neil Gray

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10 years 10 months ago #4414 by gordon
gordon replied the topic: Re: Elusive Wilson's Phalarope
Hi Neil,

I went back on Sunday to try and relocate the bird seen on Saturday. Unlike Saturday where we got Ruff, Little Stint, Marsh Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and the possible Phalarope, Sunday yielded up only one lone Wood Sandpiper!

I spent several hours searching all the more saline sections of the pan, especially in the Botany Bay but area without any luck.

While I am not going to tick our sighting on my lifelist, I do feel that the bird we spotted standing behind that little bush was in fact the Phalarope. The combination of size, leg length, white rump in flight and bill/head shape, colouring and size point to the Phalarope.

Thanks again for an enjoyable days birding!

I did go back on Sunday to search for the bird but without luck!


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