An unexpected visitor finds refuge in the Orueta lagoon.

Monday, 05 December 2022 12:56

thumbnailWe recently had an unexpected visitor  in the Orueta marshes in Urdaibai. Where was this visitor from?

Imagine. It´s summer in the Arctic.

Summer breeding grounds

A beautiful cinnamon coloured bird nestles amongst the vegetation of the tundra. Its beak is yellow and its crown is white. In its nest are two chicks, their speckled black and brown plumage blending into the habitat.


web page fala

These birds are red phalaropes, waders which, unusually for shorebirds, migrate mainly on oceanic routes and spend all winter at sea.

The unexpected visitor in Orueta was indeed a red phalarope, although you might not have guessed. In winter a phalarope´s plumage is totally different. They are grey and white with black around their eyes.


From the Urdaibai Bird Center we were able to observe our visitor feeding frenetically on aquatic invertebrates and enjoying the safety of the Orueta marshes.

faloropo fast webpage

Thousands of miles from its breeding grounds in the Arctic, this individual was not alone. Throughout the month of November there have been many sightings of red phalaropes along the Basque coast. This is unusual to say the least.


We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

I accept cookies from this site.

EU Cookie Directive Module Information