23rd November 2017

Fetlar phalarope photo wins award

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A PHOTOGRAPH of a rare red-necked phalarope taken in Fetlar has won the Rural Gateway website photo competition.

It was taken at the Loch of Funzie by Richard Chew who, knowing that the bird would approach him if he was still and quiet, waited patiently for one to appear.

There are only between 20 and 30 pairs these birds breeding annually in the UK.

Richard’s photograph will now go on to an online poll at the end of the year, when the public will decide which photo deserves the overall photo of the year.

Mr Chew, an amateur photographer, said: “On 2nd June, following a lumpy ferry crossing to Fetlar, I made my way through heavy rain and a violent thunderstorm to the RSPB’s reserve at the Loch of Funzie. I was not at all hopeful of seeing the red-necked phalaropes which breed there in small numbers.

“After about 15 minutes I heard the distinctive call of one and then saw the tiny wader fly in and land close to the shore of the loch where it began to feed. I recalled from my previous visit to Fetlar that if you wait quietly, red-necked phalaropes will approach within a few feet of you, seemingly undisturbed by any human presence. Sure enough the bird moved closer and closer, some weak sunshine appeared for a few minutes and I got my photos . . . perfect!”