‘Cos they’re a high arctic bird, and first winters have rarely clapped eyes on human beans, Grey Phalaropes can often be ridiculously confiding.
Especially when they turn up at the small boating lake at Crosby Coastal Park – they like noodling round the edges there, where their view and awareness of their surroundings is probably restricted to little above the foot high sheer walls of the pool.
Combine these factors and you have the opportunity for a remarkable close encounter with a very special bird, as long as you keep low, still and quiet.
Just pick a spot on the bank and wait for the bird to come to you…
Sometimes today’s bird came so close you could touch it, but if I remember my I-Spy rules of bird-spotting correctly, poking a phalarope is a very bad thing…
I was surprised Steve Young resisted temptation though, as it came even closer to him than me.
You could even see the lobes on its freaky feet (the phalarope that is, not Steve – he kept his shoes and socks on).
The critter was completely oblivious to the crowd drawn to the pool.
A marvellous bird – the universe radiated out across the ripples on the water created by the arctic waif like light bouncing off Saturn’s rings, then spun back to spark smiles all round.