Red-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 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 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.