Out on the very windy Nene Washes, we thought we'd missed our chance to see the female Wilson's Phalarope. As we arrived, another birder told us that it was tucked away out of sight, behind a hedge, and our hearts sank. But we scanned and scanned the pool for it, in the hope it would emerge, and at least found a nice little flock of Dunlin, in breeding plumage, plus a Wood Sandpiper.
Then suddenly there it was, picking its way through the shallow water, feeding as it went. It didn't, unfortunately, do its swimming in circles trick, but it's a fantastic bird in every respect. Like all phalaropes (and unlike most other bird species), the female is more colourful than the male, but it's not just the markings that stand out. Its whole shape and manner is distinctive, and even though I'd seen plenty of good photos of it beforehand, it managed to surprise. It's altogether more delicate than I expected, and, well, just different to anything I've seen in Britain.
A handsome drake Garganey rounded things off nicely, just before the rain set in for the weekend.