Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rope-A-Dope Phalaropes!

The Salton Sea is a weird place, so naturally it's popular with weird birds, like gender-role reversing Phalaropes. There were hundreds of Wilson's Phalaropes along the Salton shore, and sprinkled in among them, along with other waders and shorebirds, were little clans of Red-necked Phalaropes.


They were not as close to the shore as many of the other birds, and since they were in fact among the smallest birds at the beach that weren't also Peeps, I can understand how they wanted to keep a safe distance. At any rate, they still afforded better looks than I'd ever had in Phoenix, and their non-breeding plumage combined with the high temperatures to make me hungry for cookies n' cream ice cream.


Pops and I saw many birds around the Sea and I took many photos, but I think this distant shot of the chubby little Phalarope riding the tide is my favorite. Underneath this bird, the rotting remains of 94,328,954 fish drag back and forth across the sand, pushed and pulled by the gentle tide. Luckily, none of that shows up in the photos.

18 comments:

  1. I just saw my first Red-necked a couple weeks ago, and my first Wilson's in August. Wonderful birds!

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    1. Nice Scott! Phalaropes are curious little critters, and always a pleasure to watch.

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  2. Here is had wonderful thoughts of the Salton sea until you mentioned the nastiness of the fish:) Phalaropes are still, like the Blue Grosbeaks, very tricky to get on the camera due to their "shyness". I am very interested in visiting this place. Maybe over break I'll make the epic trek.

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    1. Whatever else happens, it will be epic. You can bring Kathie too! It's best to use the buddy system when birding Salton.

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    2. I think you are correct. Lots of research is going on right now. Portal might be my big trip:)

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    3. Eagerly waiting to hear how it all plays out...

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  3. The Salton Sea sounds like such an interesting place and you certainly such a great variety. I haven't seen this species yet. These are great captures...I wonder if the Phalarope spotted the massive fish rot in the last photo. And I'm guessing you really like ice cream:)

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    1. Tammy, everything you said in your comment is TRUE

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  4. Great shots Laurence. I had my first Wilson's last month in Vermont which was cool - really fun to watch them spin.

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    1. Gotta be careful you don't get sucked into that vortex!

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  5. Ever the amateur, I have never even heard of Phalaropes. Great shots!

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    1. Aw shucks Moe.

      They don't really do much in the Plains states, so I don't imagine they would've popped up much for you. If you get the chance though...they're really neat birds. I recommend coming out to the west coast to see some : )

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  6. Aw the chubby phal is a sweet shot! And heck yea, they do have a striking resemblance to a certain type of ice-cream...I've been following you lately, love your Blog Laurence. :o)

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    1. Hey Thanks Jann!

      As a few commenters have mentioned, i perhaps make the bird and corresponding ice cream flavor associations too often, but it is what it is.

      It's always great to hear from visitors. Thanks for commenting.

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  7. The Phalarope's are great birds. Beautiful photos!

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  8. Wonderful images Laurence! The Salton Sea keeps tempting me because of thee!

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    1. That makes me an accomplice! However, the Salton Sea is worth the risk. Go, go!!!

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