As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Wilson's phalarope: the rare bird creating whirl in Belfast

Scores of wildlife fans have flocked to the RSPB's Belfast Harbour Reserve to capture a "once in a generation" sighting of a rare bird.

The juvenile Wilson's phalarope showed up yesterday morning, feeding on invertebrates among the other waders on the mudflats.

The rare migrant breeds and winters on the other side of the Atlantic and has only appeared in Northern Ireland a handful of times. And thanks to the power of social media, word soon spread.

"Within half-an-hour of the first text going out, it was on the internet," warden Chris Sturgeon said.

"There was one man who was down there for four hours trying to get a photo of it.

"We've had over 40 people here to see it so far – for us, on a Wednesday, that is pretty good. There are a lot of people out there who haven't heard about it, so I am expecting a lot of interest tomorrow."

The phalarope is a common wetland breeding bird on the other side of south west Canada and the north west United States and migrates to inland salt lakes near the Andes in South America to over-winter.

That's why it is so rare to see one here – although, amazingly, one did show up at Belfast Harbour Reserve two years ago and stayed for a month.

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