There has been a slight upturn in wader passage too, most notably a pretty decent wave of Little Stints, as well as a small influx of Red-Necked Phalaropes, pretty much exclusively all juvenile birds. Inland, they are a valuable commodity, so when one turned up at Farmoor Reservoir (Oxford) last week, I was really hoping it would hang on to the weekend. By Friday evening it was still in situ, so regardless of any news, I decided to head to Farmoor first thing Saturday.
It was a pretty dull, cloudy morning, however was pretty mild. Soon after my arrival, I checked the Oxon Bird Log website to find it had already been reported...excellent!
I made my way round F2 to the Causeway, grilling a couple of flocks of Tufties on route for the recently reported eclipse drake Scaup. No luck.
As I approached the causeway, it was pretty clear where the Phalarope was, with a huddle of birders / photographers peering over the concrete edge on the northern side of F2. I joined the gaggle and was immediately treated to an exquisite little juvenile Red-Necked Phalarope. It was noticeably smaller and more elegant that it's close relative the Grey Phalarope, a species still very fresh in my mind following that cracking Grimsbury bird.
I spend a good hour watching the RNP, probably no older than a month or two and totally unperturbed with everyone's presence, as is generally the case with Phalaropes. It's plumage was very fresh and while not exhibiting the wow factor of a spring adult, I think they still look super smart with that dark smudge through the eye and almost golden stripes down the back. To see one so close was a real treat, particularly being only half an hour from home.
While there, also eventually picked up the long-staying juvenile Shag, out on a raft with a bunch of Cormorants. There were also several Yellow-Legged Gull loafing about, 2 Common Sandpipers and a striking, partially albino Coot. A really enjoyable visit and certainly one of my birding highlights of the year.