Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2014-0

Common name:

Red Phalarope

Scientific name: Phalaropus fulicarius
Date: 09-04-2014
Time: 5:00pm
Length of time observed: 30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult, non-breeding plumage
Sex: ?
Location: Powell Lake
County: Utah
Elevation: 4,500ft
Distance to bird: 15m
Optical equipment: Nikon 10x50 Binoculars
Weather: Sunny,brezzy,warm-75F
Light Conditions: Excellent
Description:        Size of bird: 8.5in
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Shorebird like
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: pale gray back, whitish belly, throat and flanks, black mask around eyes
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Initially found and reported by Tim Avery earlier that day, when I arrived Matt was already there looking through the Phalarope, one looked bigger to him but he wasn't sure if it was the Red. As I started scanning the Phalarope, which were mixed in with many gulls, one quickly popped out as being larger and paler than the others, once we got the scope on it became clear it was the Red Phalarope because it also had a very thick bill. We changed our position to get a better angle of the light on the bird, and in profile the bird looked even bigger compared to the Red-necked. Something spooked the gulls, which caused the Phalarope to take off too, and the Red flew in closer and we got excellent views. Larger, paler and with a cleaner gray mantle with little black streaking, and with a thicker, slightly shorter bill. This bird spent most of its time off by itself away from the other Phalarope.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard
Behavior: Swimming on a small pond, plucking things off the surface of the water.
Habitat: Shallow wetland pond along the Jordan River parkway, less than 2 miles from the north end of Utah Lake.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
There were Red-necked Phalarope present for direct comparison, which were smaller, had a thinner neck and thinner, longer bill, and more black streaking on the back, and are generally darker. Wilson's Phalarope, which were not present, are larger, have a longer, thinner bill and lack the black eyeline that a Red and Red-necked have.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
None with Red Phalarope. I've seen Red-necked and Wilson's Phalarope by the thousands on the causeway
References consulted: 'The Shorebird Guide'200:,M. O'Brien,R. Crossley, K. Karlson. 'The Sibley Guide to Birds'2014:D.A. Sibley, photos.
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Bryant Olsen
Observer's address: 688 East 700 South #105, SLC, UT 84102
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Matt Pendleton, Tim Avery
Date prepared: 09-05-2014
Additional material: Photos