Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

June 11, 2010

Red Phalarope

Filed under: Birds, light, rarities — richditch @ 7:31 pm
Red Phalarope

Red Phalarope

Phalaropes are interesting birds, and I don’t know a birder who doesn’t enjoy seeing them. There are three species: Wilson’s, Red-necked, and Red. These are small sandpipers that typically feed on the water surface, spinning rapidly in a small tight circle and picking at small prey this brings to the surface.

In breeding plumage the female is brighter than the male – the opposite of what we see in typical species that have different plumage for male and female. And when these birds breed it is the male that ends up taking care of the young.

When not in breeding dress phalaropes are mostly white with a black marking of some sort near the eye. They look “pot bellied” when standing on dry ground compared to other similarly sized shorebirds. These two characteristics make them easy to pick out at a great distance even when they aren’t spinning on the water.

Red-necked and Red Phalaropes are pelagic species, spending a lot of their time on the open ocean. Wilson’s is more of an inland bird of the western U.S.

The Red Phalarope is the least likely to be seen in AZ. This bird is only the second one seen in May in Maricopa County, and became the first seen in June when it hung around for a couple of extra days. Full details about this bird can be found at the AZFO web site.

06/03/10, 7:06 pm, Nikon D200, 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/250th second at f/7.1, fill flash. 77% of full frame, cropped to correct a 3.5 degree tilt at the time of shooting.


1 Comment »

  1. Fabulous bird and always a joy to see, especially in your local area and out of context. Great shot…

    Comment by Alister Benn — June 14, 2010 @ 1:04 am

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