08 August 2011
Lifer Wilson's Phalarope
On August 3rd I headed out to the sod fields of Palm Beach County in search of a target bird. I had seen reports of Wilson's Phalarope earlier in the day on the bird boards and I figured this was my best chance to find it before a potential storm hit over the weekend. I left directly after work for CR 880 near Belle Glade, FL.
At the first flooded fields I found huge flocks of yellowlegs. Mixed into the group were Least Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, and a huge group of Black Terns. The photo above was taken by local birder, Trey Mitchell, on the same day but hours earlier.
I searched the flooded field over and over, stopping my car at intervals along the way and trying to stay out of traffic. I finally gave up and decided to search some other areas. I rounded the corner and there was a second flooded field. Wouldn't you know it, the phalaropes were there all along! I had been searching the wrong field. The three Wilson's Phalarope were busy feeding and gave me great looks as they spun around in search of food.
This was a great Lifer and a County bird to boot! The view was made better with my new Swaro CL binoculars. The heat shimmer caused optimal viewing of the phalaropes to be limited but the great optics gave me my best view. It was a great way to end the day, success in hand. If you're interested in shorebird migration, the Everglades Agricultural Area in Palm Beach County, Florida is definitely where it's at right now. Every time I go out there I find something new and exciting.