Wilson’s Phalarope Chick at Red Rock Lakes NWR

/, Wilson's Phalaropes/Wilson’s Phalarope Chick at Red Rock Lakes NWR

Wilson's Phalarope chick hunting for preyWilson’s Phalarope chick hunting for prey – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’m camping in Idaho but I can’t resist heading to Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana when I am this close so yesterday morning that is what I did. I always like to check out the dam at the Lower Lake campground and I am very glad I did because there were plenty of birds in the alkali ponds near the dam and some of them even hung around to be photographed.

When I spotted a chick coming out from behind some vegetation I started photographing it immediately without even being sure what species it was because I knew the chick might have disappeared right away so I just locked onto it and fired away. I wanted some documentation images. Once I figured out that it wasn’t going to disappear immediately then I started looking at it more carefully and noticed the scalloped feathers on its back and it began to dawn on me what species the chick belonged to.

Wilson's Phalarope chick in pondWilson’s Phalarope chick in pond – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I was photographing a Wilson’s Phalarope chick and it was in fact the youngest phalarope chick I had ever seen!

Now I must also admit I had some feathered help with the ID in the form of the adult Wilson’s Phalaropes that were nearby and the fact that a male Wilson’s Phalarope was staying fairly close to the chick. Female Wilson’s Phalaropes leave the males to do the incubation, brooding and rearing so seeing a male near the chick made a lot of sense to me as far as the ID goes.

Now, if I am incorrect I would appreciate knowing. Please tell me! The ID of chicks can be tricky.

I could have danced down the road after the chick finally disappeared into the vegetation I was so happy!

Life is good.



  1. Humming bird lover July 14, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Hi! love the photo of the little one! Have a great time! love mom

  2. Deborah July 13, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    While both photos are really great, the top one is a most stellar photo and I’m sure makes a fabulous print! I’m thinking metallic paper! It’s my new favorite for all my printing right now. 😉

  3. Mia McPherson July 13, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks for you comments!

    Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post. I will give you one tiny hint… it is a lifer for me!

  4. Patty Chadwick July 13, 2016 at 7:48 am

    What a cute chick! I love this image– and the reflection! Can see how you’d be pleased to capture this image and experience the adult’s behavior…glad you’re getting to do this is such an interesting, , beautiful place….

  5. Bob McPherson July 13, 2016 at 5:33 am

    Beautiful images, Mia. Always a pleasure to see the Chicks growing up.

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