Phalaropus Magnum Opus
With the misidentified Ruff still on my mind and the recent remnants of Fay swamping my local mudflats I’ve been looking longingly at reports of shorebirds. I certainly wasn’t expecting anything unusual. Then, the message went out on the listserve about a Red-necked Phalarope that had been reported at a water treatment plant about an hour away in Winston-Salem. I was up the next morning heading west.
As I pulled up to the plant, I flashed my binoculars to the security guard (I always wonder what they think when a rare bird shows up in a place like this), and drove past the pools of bubbling brown…er…something, and to the ponds in the back of the facility. I didn’t have just a whole lot of time to spend looking for the bird, as I had some obligations in the afternoon, so I was pleased to find it almost immediately, twirling around in circles in the company of a few Mallards. Below is the scene, if you click on the photo you may be able to find the phalarope in the blown up picture.
So the bird was easy to find, and really easy to photograph too. I wondered whether Hurricane Fay had anything to do with bringing this typically pelagic species so far inland.
The bird was not only obviously a new bird for the year, but a Life Bird besides, my 66th in the state of North Carolina, something of a milestone as it places NC 3rd in my list of life birdiest states. Hopefully it’s not the last vagrant shorebird I’ll run into before the fall migration is over.