From the Cape Argus in South Africa:
South Africa: Birders Flock to See an ‘American Beauty’
24 May 2007
Posted to the web 25 May 2007
When it comes to being fanatical, it’s hard to beat the birders – and they proved it this week by flocking in numbers to the small Dolphin Beach pan near Table View to watch an extremely rare visitor from America.
When the female Wilson’s Phalarope, Phalaropus tricolor, made her spectacular appearance in the pond in full breeding plumage – a true visiting “American Beauty” – it was only the third record of this species in Cape Town and only the 15th in southern Africa.
A small wader, this phalarope species breeds in the prairies of North America, in western Canada and the western US, and migrates to southern South America for the northern winter.
But it sometimes goes a bit off course, and has been recorded as a rare vagrant in western Europe and, even more rarely, locally.
Prominent local birder Trevor Hardaker, who runs a birders’ website among his other birding activities, said he had been alerted to the presence of a “strange phalarope” at the pan on Sunday evening by fellow birder Dave Deighton.
“Dave said that is was ‘probably an odd Red-necked Phalarope‘ and that ‘I should not lose too much sleep over it’.
He did, however, ask that I pop down there on Monday morning just to have a quick look to be sure.”
Hardaker went as requested, “not really expecting to find much”.
“Imagine my surprise when I lifted my binos (binoculars) and found that I was looking at a female Wilson’s Phalarope in full breeding plumage. …
Other Western Cape sightings were at the Afdaks River in 1974, Velddrif in 1979, Paternoster in 1983 (and for seven successive seasons there) and at Abrahamskraal in the West Coast National Park in 2005.
Red-necked phalarope: here.