Red-necked Phalaropes Quintana

Claudia and I had a leisurely start at eight and drove down to Quintana. Coming over the bridge, I noticed the spoil ponds and throngs of shorebirds. I pulled over immediately and was amazed to see hundreds of American Avocets, Wilson’s Phalaropes and lesser numbers of Stilt Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers, and Western Sandpiper. On scan number three of the feeding frenzy I spotted a tiny dark backed Red-necked Phalarope. The bird flew quite a bit, showing the dark rump. At one point I thought there were actually two (which later turned out to be correct). We met R. Weeks at the sanctuary, who helped us get onto the odd gull hanging about the base of the jetty with several Lesser Black-backed. After some thinking and researching I am still unsure, but wonder whether the gull actually falls within range of Lesser Black-backed even though it was two tints darker mantled and obviously larger billed and bodied, interested to see what opinions others have. Back at the ponds R. Week and I spotted both Red-necked Phalaropes, which had apparently been seen by Greg Lavaty earlier that morning, either way great birds for the upper Texas coast. Otherwise quiet on the coast.

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