Another Find in the Flooded Flats

Well, today I was accused of not having any October posts out (by my wife mind you).  Obviously my loyal readers know that was absolutely WRONG. Hey, I may be running a little late this month, but at least give me some credit for getting something out there.  The good news is I’m in the process of doubling my October output with tonight’s featured bird.
Red-Necked Phalarope shot at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge

If you recall, the last post was about a late recognition of a productive bird outing with my brother.  That bird (the Wilson’s Phalarope) was enshrined in the Birding Life List thanks to one of my golden rules of wildlife photography – “Shoot Anything That Moves”.  I cannot count the number of times that principle has produced a +1.  If the Wilson’s is considered lucky, this find came with Leprechauns.   I know for a fact that I noticed the Wilson since there were multiple shots with that Phalarope being in the center focus position – that, of course, translates into much better shots than these.

Red-Necked Phalarope shot at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge

It has been a while since I processed these specific shots, but pretty sure not a single one of them were in the center focus region meaning it didn’t catch our attention during the outing.  Nope, it didn’t even come up until we noticed fellow birders posting about how they found a Red-Necked Phalarope in the exact same floodle area.  That prompted another look through the hundreds of shots we took there.

Red-Necked Phalarope shot at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge

Eventually we located one hanging out in a distant part of the flooded field.  Our disappointment over going -2 for the day was all for not.  It may be a late find, but a +1 in the tin is a +1 on the list.  Within a 2 hour time frame on our bird outing we already had the two birds we spent all afternoon hiking for in Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge.  Not a total waste since my brother got to experience Goofy Ridge.

Red-Necked Phalarope shot at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge

Okay, out of pictures so better get to some meat.  This is a Red-Necked Phalarope, not to be confused with the much rarer Red Phalarope.  The latter happens to be on Ron’s Birding Life List – as I turn green with envy typing that.  He even got to have his name associated with the actual rare bird sighting this year.  He was photographing what he thought was a Red-Necked Phalarope.  Also there was a fellow birder (and apparently very knowledgeable) that was skeptical it was a Red-Necked as opposed to the Red Phalarope.  Ron said some calls were made to others to come confirm the sighting – long story short, it turned out to be the Red and they used Ron’s picture to aid in the identification.  How cool is that!?!  I’m still stoked to get the Red-Necked.  Not the best shots as you can tell, but good enough to get the call.  Sorry, but that is about all I can add to this bird – It doesn’t even get its own page on the Cornell site – just a few notes about how to distinguish it from the Wilson’s – which for the record is much easier in breeding plumage.

Okay, now for some help – I could use some confirmation if the first show is really a Red-Necked and not a Wilson’s.  After looking at it a bunch while writing this post I am beginning t think the lining on the back of the eye through the neck is more similar to the Wilson’s where the other shots have a more isolated line.  Let me know what you think and I’ll correct if necessary.

Based on the limited days remaining, look for some more posts very soon.



3 comments on “Another Find in the Flooded Flats

  1. Ron

    Hmm, for once it was NOT me nagging about the end of the month and no posts?? Wow. My congrats to Linda for picking up the slack.

    I do believe the first pic is a Wilson’s Phalarope. You might still want to keep it but use it as a flashback to the previous post and a comparison for the Red-Necked Phalarope of this post, with the most distinctive difference the broad, short stripe behind the eye rather than the gray line curving down the neck.

    I might add to your discussion by saying these birds are SMALL, which is why we didn’t particularly pick them out while we were trying to scope out this huge field in the distance. So the fact that these pics are decent is due to the coveted “shoot, shift, shoot” technique of professionals like us.

    Did I mention I got a Red Phalarope?


  2. Ron

    Hmm, I kind of regret joking about having the Red Phalarope, particularly since you were so nice to mention that in your post. Your Edit function for comments doesn’t work or I would have deleted that line, so please edit it out.



  3. admin

    I think I agree – I was torn when I was processing it and staring at it while posting continue to drive doubt. I’ll leave it here to see who reads the comments hehehe. These birds are definitely small – I’d almost put them slightly larger than a Killdeer making it easy to dismiss them among the huge mass of birds out there – being that I dismiss Killdeer about as fast as I do Coots!

    You should be proud of the Red +1 – that is just plain cool. I know when I’ve been bested (travel plans already being made hehehe)

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