Country corner by George Hogg

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Though I have often said I am not the type of naturalist who searches for rarities, this Grey Phalarope was first seen at Dunbar in mid November.

And, when it was still being reported well into December, I thought I should have a look as I was working near Dunbar.

How glad I was to have made the effort, the bird is a wee bobbydazzler !

Here it is shown beside a Black Headed Gull to show how small it is.

How amazing therefore, to consider these fragile looking wee things nest in the Arctic and fly down migration routes far out in the wild North Atlantic

to spend the winter, still on the Atlantic, off the south and west coasts of Africa.

Yes, I know Dunbar is hardly on that route, but storms and blizzards can scatter migrants to strange places!

Grey Phalaropes have opposite breeding habits to most birds.

Would you believe it is the females who sport the bright courting colours and the poor hen-pecked males who look after the nest, eggs and chicks?

To give you an idea how rarely these birds turn up here, my only previous sighting was forty years ago on August 14, 1970.

That one was watched at close quarters from the old wooden fish box hide which stood on the strandline at Aberlady Bay for some years, despite often needing to be rebuilt after high tides!

Aye, those were the days!

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