#419 Red-necked Phalarope in Two Counties

This was one of those tricky lifers. You’re not quite sure when you saw it first because you’re not quite sure about the first sighting. I think my first Red-necked Phalarope was at San Joaquin Wildlife Refuge on April 27. However those birds weren’t in breeding plumage, and I didn’t have a scope. I can’t say with absolute certainty that they weren’t Wilson’s Phalaropes (though I do think they matched Red-necked much more closely.)

Phalarope at San Joaquin, Pond A

Fortunately just a few days later I was in Santa Clara County on business, and as I like to do I went to Mountain View Shoreline before work. Usually I start out at the end of San Antonio road and walk around the lake. However, today I decided to take a different route and explore the area to the north along the 101. About halfway to the next exit, I found some ponds, and in one of them a flock of about 20 Red-necked Phalaropes were feeding. This time most of them were in full breeding plumage so even without a scope there was no doubt. I even got some recognizable pictures:

6 Red-necked Phalaropes feeding in water

Total species count for that morning was 28:

  • Canada Goose
  • Gadwall
  • Mallard
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Pied-billed Grebe
  • American White Pelican
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Snowy Egret
  • White-tailed Kite
  • Common Moorhen
  • American Coot
  • Killdeer
  • Black-necked Stilt
  • American Avocet
  • Red-necked Phalarope
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • California Gull
  • Forster’s Tern
  • American Crow
  • Marsh Wren
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Bullock’s Oriole
  • House Finch
  • Lesser Goldfinch

I saw still more Phalaropes the next weekend back in Orange County, but that will have to wait for the next entry.

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