Thursday, 2 June 2016

Drive-by shootings

My last visit to North Uist was memorable for the exceptional views of breeding waders, the best of which can generally be obtained by driving slowly around suitable habitat (which is most of it) with the windows down. All of the following (with the exception of the Sanderling) were taken this way, with Bradders (aka Parker) doing the honours as chauffeur in that finest of wildlife safari vehicles, a clapped out Astra with a dodgy clutch, which made every gear change sound like a Corncrake with tonsillitis.
Redshank in breeding plumage

Common Snipe
Common Snipe
Common Snipe among the rocks and Cotton Grass of Balranald
Ringed Plover
Lapwing in the lengthening shadows
Red-necked Phalarope (female) - a rare breeding bird in Britain at the southernmost edge of its range - photographed from a respectful distance from the car with the aid of teleconverters
A male Red-necked Phalarope - duller than the female, who lays the eggs and leaves him to bring up the youngsters
Red-necked Phalarope (male)
Red-necked Phalarope (female) - we thought we had travelled a long way to get to the Western Isles, but satellite tagging has revealed that a breeding bird of this species from Shetland migrated across the Atlantic, south down the eastern seaboard of the US, across the Caribbean and Mexico, wintering in the Pacific off the coast of Peru. And all without the aid of an Astra.
Sanderling in summer plumage

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