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Saturday, 28 June 2014

Iceland,day 4 dedicated to Phalaropes.

I`m going to dedicate this particular blog to the Red Necked Phalarope,when I originally decided to choose Iceland as my venue,the Phalarope was very much the bird that drew me to the island.We have a few pairs that breed in northern Scotland, but they are a really abundant bird out here!I was looking forward to seeing them in summer breeding plummage as I`d only ever seen the odd one looking pretty drab on migration.It wasn`t until I reached the shores of Lake Myvatan that I could really study the birds at close range.They were unfazed by my presence and gave me many opportunities to gain images.My first 3 days in Iceland produced only half a dozen birds,but they had only just began to arrive from southern climates.Some of these birds had in the past been radio tagged and had been proven to go as far down as Argentina,south america!One male bird geo tagged in Fetlar scotland was found to have made the 16000 mile round trip,this jourey has never before been recorded by a british breeding bird,its made even more astonishing that they migrate westwards against the prevailing weatherin virtually the opposite direction to all other migrants that leave the UK!
The male phalarope is the one that does all the incubating,whilst the brightly coloured females look for another mate!

Just a half metre away from me,it was great watching them pick the many insects off the water,right under my nose!

These 4 birds were congregating around  a small inlet where the flow of the river was narrowed right down,thus bringing in regular amounts of flies for them to pick off!

A nice male far from dull!

Mating was taking over all around the lake after having returned from their wintering quarters!

Needle billed and slender necked,they were very agile on the water,often spinning and dabbling on the same spot!

Very nice when you can play with some nice light!

Even though drab,still a stonking bird to watch!

Smaller than a starling,such a strong swimmer for a wader!

Some nice colours thrown up by the bankside vegitation adds to the composition!

I believe between 30 to 50,00 pairs breed in Iceland!

Not in the least bit bothered by my presence,they carried on their daily rituals regardless.

Lake Myvatan is a real stronghold for the Phalaropes but thats hardly surprising really as the name translates as midge lake,there are literally millions swarming all over but unbelievably they dont bite but irritate!

I make no apologies for showing so many images of the one species,but believe you me they are absolutely enthralling!I hope you enjoyed looking through these shots and more from Iceland wll be conveyed in my next blog shortly,catch up with you soon and thanks for dropping by!!!


  1. A privilege indeed to see these birds at close quarters even more so when they are in summer plumage,a wonderful post with great images,well worth the trip just for these birds Paul.

  2. Paul. Your dreams came true!! Fabulous little birds to see at such close quarters.What a difference the sun makes to the stunning colours of these gorgeous birds. Made the Icelandic adventure very worthwhile. Well done mate.