Follow in Nigel's Footsteps

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Grey Phalarope and rough seas...

Last day of 2015 and James McCarthy finds a Grey Phalarope by the Cobb Wall at Lyme Regis. What's a birder to do? I love Lyme but boy does it get busy these days, no longer the quiet bolt hole it use to be in the middle of winter. My initial response was to avoid it like the plague but after an hour's consideration I decided to go for it. A phone call to Dave Helliar (he'd been thinking the same thing) and he decided to come along too.

We arrived to find the top car park heaving with traffic - no point in trying to park down near the Cobb itself when it's like that so we found a space and walked down into the town instead. The phalarope had been reported by the Cobb Wall as viewed from Monmouth Beach but it was hard to believe that one of these little wonders could survive in the churning white froth - I haven't seen it this rough in a while. But it was still there. Dave soon picked it up almost in front of us as it moved up and down the beach, staying loyal to the waters just west of the Wall. Perhaps just as surprising was the complete lack of other birders present while we were there, we had this little beauty all to ourselves, just a dozen or so people taking photos of the waves and a few chancing their lives close to the shoreline. It was so rough it was almost impossible to keep up with it through the camera before it vanished into one huge wave after another often in the company of a juvenile Kittiwake. Dave grabbed a few shots and got about 5 seconds of video before giving up and just watching the bird whiz around in the surf. Great way to finish the year.

Grey Phalarope and Kittiwake at Lyme Regis: R. Harris

There's a Grey Phalarope in there somewhere! :D. Helliar
Juvenile Kittiwake: D. Helliar
Fighting the wind, juv Kittiwake: D. Helliar
Juv Kittiwake: D. Helliar
Grey Phalarope: D. Helliar

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