[CT Birds] Wilson's Phalarope Description

Jan Collins jgcollins at cox.net
Fri May 29 08:26:10 EDT 2009

I apologize for not giving a better description of the bird I believe to be 
a W Phalarope at Hammo yesterday.  I realize just saying it looks like the 
field guide didn't give people the info that it was a bird in breeding 
plumage, but it was late when I got home so the brain cells weren't working 
quite right.

I ended up at Hammo yesterday because I had a dinner engagement in Rocky 
Hill at 6 PM which seemed like a long way to drive from Somers, so it made 
perfect sense to me to drive to Hammo and spend the day birding and then 
stopping at Rocky Hill would be on the way home.

I arrived at Hammo at 11 AM and spotted the shorebirds in the new marshy 
area by the East Beach Parking so I stopped and scanned with the bins. 
Noticed the "bird" I realized was a new one for me almost immediately and 
what struck me first was he had the look of a bombadier pilot (or Snoopy) 
coming straight at me with head and neck outstretched and down and white 
outlining his dark eyes so he looked like he had goggles on.

His energetic feeding style reminded me of a Yellowlegs but a check of his 
legs and they were black.  Then in profile I saw the black stripe down the 
side of the neck and the reddish neck elsewhere and white throat and belly 
and white down the back of the neck into darker wing and back feathers.  My 
next thought was a phalarope ( I had been to Alaska last year and they were 
on my list to look for but didn't get any good looks) so I checked the Field 
Guide and Wilson's jumped out.  Size was right as well as he was bigger than 
the Semi-plovers and smaller than the killdeer which were also feeding in 
that pool.

He, or should it be she, disappeared into the vegetation but by the time I 
got the scope out, she had reappeared and I spent a half hour watching her 
energetic feeding style and thinking gee, it would be nice if another, more 
knowledgeable birder came along.  But none did and I had no numbers to call 
anyone as usually I am the reportee not the reporter!

So later in the day, I stopped at the Audubon Shop to see Jerry before 
heading to dinner to see if anyone had reported such a bird and he said "Are 
you in to digiscoping?".  Well I wasn't before I went in but I am now! 
Bought his suggestion for a good camera and adapter for my scope and put his 
number in my cell phone, so next time I will be prepared.

Hope the bird stays around and others get a chance to confirm it's ID.

Jan in Somers

PS   Had 50 species total plus the stunning Golden Pheasant and no beach 
crowd, just some high school kids who were most appreciative when I gave 
them a close up scope view of an osprey eating a fish, so it was a great 

More information about the CTBirds mailing list