Red-necked Phalaropes – Migration and the Great Salt Lake

/, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, Red-necked Phalaropes, Utah/Red-necked Phalaropes – Migration and the Great Salt Lake

Red-necked Phalaropes in flightRed-necked Phalaropes in flight – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’ve written several posts on Wilson’s Phalaropes and how important the Great Salt Lake is to them, how they form beautiful and mesmerizing murmurations over the lake, in Montana how they deal with hail storms and seeing a tiny phalarope chick foraging in a small pool of water, how the females are more colorful than the males and how they leave the males to rear their young. Wilson’s Phalaropes are the phalarope species I see most often.

I also see Red-necked Phalaropes on the Great Salt Lake during migration when they stop to refuel and rest on their way to the coasts of Central and South America where they will spend their nonbreeding season at sea. They are the smallest of the three phalarope species.

Last month I was able to photograph flocks of Red-necked Phalaropes on the Great Salt Lake when they were migrating through the area. They weren’t as numerous as the Wilson’s Phalaropes but I was able to take photos of them in flocks flying over the lake.

Red-necked Phalaropes flying over the Great Salt LakeRed-necked Phalaropes flying over the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The phalaropes were feeding on brine flies and shrimp to refuel for the rest of their journey south. I wish I had been able to record the sounds of the phalaropes while they were feeding and the whoosh they make when they fly past. All of the Red-necked Phalaropes I photographed in late September were in nonbreeding plumage.

Like the Wilson’s Phalaropes, the female Red-necked Phalaropes are more colorful during the breeding season and they also leave the males to rear the young.

Red-necked Phalarope murmurationRed-necked Phalarope murmuration – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Also like the Wilson’s Phalaropes the Red-necked Phalaropes form beautiful murmurations over the Great Salt Lake which sometimes looks to be a very well choreographed aerial dance or controlled chaos.

Life is good.

Mia

5 Comments

  1. Utahbooklover October 14, 2017 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    “Also like the Wilson’s Phalaropes the Red-necked Phalaropes form beautiful murmurations over the Great Salt Lake which sometimes looks to be a very well choreographed aerial dance or controlled chaos.”

    As EC wrote, “What a magical thing to see.”

  2. Elephants Child October 12, 2017 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    What a magical thing to see…

  3. Patty Chadwick October 12, 2017 at 9:02 am - Reply

    The sounds of their calls and the rush of their wings as they take off must be very impressive! A very all-knowing woman I used to paint with told me that I was mispronouncing phalarope as Phah-lah-rope…that it was supposed to rhyme with calliope…The expression on the face of the wildlife artist we were painting with was very funny. I try to avoid saying it now…

  4. Len Boeder October 12, 2017 at 7:49 am - Reply

    Love those Phalaropes!

  5. April Olson October 12, 2017 at 7:33 am - Reply

    They were a delight to watch and listen to. I hope we have another wet year so we can enjoy them in large numbers along the causeway.

Leave A Comment