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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The day after the storm

I got lucky today — I had been working in the office through the morning, but then had to make a quick run to the post office.  On the way back, I noticed Mario photographing some shorebirds near Gaffney Point.  The recent storm had pushed some Red Phalaropes (Phalaropus fulicarius) into Bodega Harbor.  (They're normally found much farther offshore.)  

The phalaropes were busy feeding in shallow water along the edge of the mudflats.  They're beautiful little birds, so here's a selection of images[Click on the pictures for larger versions.]

I was curious about what the phalaropes were feeding on, so I was glad to capture the next image.  Can you tell what's in the phalarope's bill?

It's a bright green shrimp!  The phalaropes were actively probing around patches of sea lettuce (Ulva sp.).  When they came up with prey, I couldn't tell what it was in the field.  But when I checked my pictures it was clear that several of the phalaropes were catching shrimp. 

The wind was calm today, creating good conditions for listening to the phalaropes.  I might have recorded some of their call notes.  If so, I'll post those soon.

Although it's predicted to be stormy during the next few days, the weather might bring more phalaropes into Bodega Harbor.  Keep your eyes open!


Alexandra said...

Beautiful photos! Love those foraging shots... AND nice meeting you today out on the bay.

Jackie Sones said...

Thanks, Alexandra! It was nice to see you out there. I hope to post a few more photos of some phalarope behavior.

:) Jackie