Red Phalarope – Hamlin Beach SP, Sept. 14, 2014 _ Brad Carlson (rare)

Doug Daniels and Brad Carlson traveled to Hamlin Beach SP on Sunday, September 7, 2014 Our target birds for the day were: any species of jaeger and possibly a Sabine’s Gull – numerous individuals had been reported on Lake Erie and the Hamilton, Ontario area of Lake Ontario.

We observed very little waterfowl of any kind at the lakewatch site at parking lot#4.  We tried Yanty Creek for passerines with little success.  We ended our day at parking lot #1 and had a fair number of warblers and other passerines.  As a last stop, we visited the lakeshore there.

Sanderling and Least Sandpiper - Hamlin Beach SP, Sept 14_ Doug Daniels

Sanderling and Least Sandpiper – Hamlin Beach SP, Sept 14. Image by Doug Daniels.

A few shorebirds were present then we simultaneously spotted a phalarope feeding about fifteen feet off shore where the algae ended. We misidentified this bird as a Red-necked.  Andy Guthrie corrected our ID.  Our failure was in believing the bird was an immature and the streaked back said RN.  It was a molting adult Red Phalarope.  The heavier bill was the key.  Andy sent a text alert and the bird was reported to Geneseebirds listserv.

— by RBA member Doug Daniels


Breeds in Alaska and northern Canada. Migrates off both coasts, very rarely in interior. Winters mainly at sea in Southern Hemisphere; irregular along Pacific Coast. Also in Old World.” Audubon

“This phalarope breeds in the Arctic regions of North America and Eurasia. It is migratory, and, unusually for a wader, migrating mainly on oceanic routes and wintering at sea on tropical oceans.” – Wikipedia

This species seldom migrates inland, but in early winter wind storms many may show up on the immediate coast tired and hungry. This is the most strongly pelagic of the phalaropes.” – Neotropical Birds (CLO)