Add to the list a showy Wilson's Phalarope at Oare Marshes, that is still present as I write this, and you may have easily have had the full set.
The first two were on my radar last month, when a Phalarope sp. turned up at Staines Reservoir on September 11.
|The south basin at Staines Reservoir|
But now the environment was intoxicating, both for birds and birders.
The Phalarope appeared on the south basin, where it joined a Pectoral Sandpiper, 4 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Knot, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, a Sanderling, a Ruff, plus plentiful numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover.
But swimming happily at the far end of the basin, at the time of its arrival it was unclear which of the two, Grey or Red-necked, it was. The consensus was perhaps a Red-necked. That was certainly my hope. It was be a lifer if it was.
And that uncertainty was still the case when I arrived along the causeway the next day, for the first time since the three white-winged Black Tern earlier in the year at "The Res".
It was great to see a familiar pair of faces as I arrived, "Captain" Bob Warden and Dave Carlsson were there that morning, and Bob immediately put me on to the Phalarope, happily bobbing away in the distance.
|Ruff at Staines Reservoir|
|Dunlin and Curlew Sandpipers at Staines Reservoir|
To cut a long debate short, however, the bird gradually migrated closer to the causeway over the next couple of days, and its id was confirmed to be a Red-necked Phalarope. Celebrations all round!
A few days later a Grey Phalarope actually did turn up on the north basin.
Fast-forward more than three weeks to October 3 and the long-staying Long-billed Dowitcher at Oare Marshes was joined by another rare American vagrant – a Wilson's Phalarope. I had only seen one before, and that was at Vange Marshes and was very distant, so last Sunday was a welcome opportunity for a closer view.
|Long-billed Dowitcher with Lapwing on the East Flood|
|The Wilson's Phalarope at Oare Marshes|
|Little Stint on the East Flood|
|Golden Plover in flight|