An encounter with one of our rarest breeding birds the red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus).
The rare red-necked phalarope breeds in small numbers in the UK and is restricted to the western and northern isles of Scotland. There are estimated to be 24 – 30 pairs breeding in the UK. Red-necked Phalarope have a short breeding season arriving around May and leaving during July. Females will usualy be first to depart with males staying on with the young.
On a recent Shetland trip we were lucky enough to encounter up to six mixed birds (Male, Female and Juvenile) on a small lochan.
The red-necked phalarope is a very small member of the Sandpiper family (Scolopacidae). The species is unusual in that the male rather than the female looks after the young. Our encounter took place during an unseasonably warm spell late in the season when birds had left their breeding ground. We found the phalarope actively feeding on insects around the edge of the lochan. The gallery shows a number of the images taken with one shot capturing four red-necked phalarope in the frame.