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Red Phalarope at Hamlin Beach

Published September 15, 2014
Tags: General Observations, Red Phalarope, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Black-and-white Warbler, Pine Warbler, Eastern Phoebe, Hamlin Beach

A Red Phalarope was spotted up at Hamlin Beach last weekend by Brad Carlson and Doug Daniels. Apparently, the bird was fairly close to shore - and I was hoping for some nice photos of it.

I couldn't believe I was headed up there again, after having just gotten the jaeger the other day!  It's a long drive - but it was worth it again - the bird was there and very cooperative.

Shortly after I parked, Andy Guthrie pulled up and we both made our way through a major wave of warblers that were moving through the parking area. Yellow-rumped and Pine Warblers were pretty much the majority - but Eastern Bluebirds, a family group of Northern Flickers, and a gorgeous Pileated Woodpecker were also on the scene.

When we got down to the beach, I was very disappointed to find it empty, other than some Ring-billed Gulls.  We scoured the entire area and had just decided to check another beach area, some Semipalmated Sandpipers flew in - and wouldn't you know - the phalarope joined soon after.

Wow, what a pretty little shorebird.  It was a juvenile and so it wasn't in the beautiful breeding plumage I would have loved to have seen - but the delicate, little phalarope was still a lovely sight.  It pretty much hung with the other peeps, foraging in the slime near the water's edge. Every once in a while, they'd all put up and take a few turns around the beach area, only to return a minute later and continue their foraging. Soon, Sanderlings replace the Semipalmateds - and the phalarope remained, content to hang with these shorebirds.

I shadowed Andy for a little while, scanning the lake, hoping for another jaeger - but no luck there.  Andy did point out a lovely Cape May Warbler high up in a tree - my first of the fall season.  Later, after he left, I got a few more photos of the Red Phalarope and Sanderlings until they put up and circled the beach, settling down on the opposite corner.  I figured that's when I'd take my leave and go pursue those warblers we had seen on our way in.  As I was packing up my scope, I noticed the birds fly up from the beach, the Sanderlings going off to the west but the phalarope went straight out towards the lake. I followed it in my bins until I lost it in the heat shimmer.  It sounds like no one has seen it since - and I think I witnessed its departure.

I didn't do too well with warblers, only finding a few: Black-and-white, a couple more Pines, and a Common Yellowthroat...
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Red Phalarope, a beautiful shorebird!
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Red Phalarope
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Red Phalarope
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Red Phalarope in flight
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Red Phalarope trailing 3 Semipalmated Sandpipers
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Sanderling
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Sanderling
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Sanderling
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Sanderling
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Pine Warbler
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Black-and-white Warbler
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Black-and-white Warbler
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Black-and-white Warbler
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Black-and-white Warbler