Sunday 11th September – Pennington marshes.   Leave a comment

As Margaret was busy this morning we delayed our trip out until this afternoon and went over to Pennington marshes near Lymington. This extensive area comprises of salt marsh and tidal mud flats with a series of freshwater pools behind the sea wall and is an excellent place to see waders and waterfowl.

Pennington marshes

 
The bird we had come to see was a Grey Phalarope, an unusual wader that breeds in the high arctic and winters at sea, mainly in the Benguela current off Namibia and the Humbolt current off western South America. Young birds are often storm driven towards the coast in the autumn and can be seen on seawatches and occasionally feeding on coastal pools.
 

Juvenile Grey Phalarope

 

Although they will feed along margins as in the photo above, they are more often seen swimming in circles, disturbing small insects which they catch in their fine bill.

 

Although known as Grey Phalarope in the UK, the internationally recognised name is Red Phalarope, after the stunning summer plumage of the female. Photo taken Spitsbergen June 2009.

 

All three species of Phalarope have a reversed breeding strategy where the duller male incubates the eggs and raises the chicks. Photo taken Spitsbergen June 2009

 
I had also hoped we might see a Curlew Sandpiper or a Little Stint, small waders from arctic Siberia, but the tide had dropped and all the small waders had left the pools for the mud flats. The wind was now so strong that scoping the tidal flats was impossible and all we saw were nearby Dunlin, Turnstone, Redshank, Ringed and Grey Plovers, plus a few ducks, herons and egrets
 

Grey Herons struggled into the wind....

 

... as did the smaller Little Egret.

Posted September 11, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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