Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2020-48

Common name:

Red Phalarope

Scientific name: Phalaropus fulicarius
Date: 9-22-2020
Time: 8:15am
Length of time observed: 45 minutes
Number: 1
Age: ?
Sex: ?
Location: South shoreline of Great Salt Lake near Saltair
County: Salt Lake
Latilong: 40.775398, -112.184462
Elevation: 4200ft
Distance to bird: Less than 10m at closest
Optical equipment: Nikon 10x42 Binoculars
Weather: Partly cloudy, 70F
Light Conditions: Good
Description:        Size of bird: 8.5 inches
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Plump small shorebird
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Gray above, white below
(Description:)            Bill Type: Stout and straight
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
As I was walking the shore of the lake, I heard a buzzy call and noticed a flock of peeps flying around, they circled than landed on the shoreline 30m away next to a Black-bellied Plover. They were mostly Baird's, but one was much paler and clearly a Phalarope. I zoomed in with my camera all the way and snapped some photos of it, and it had a pinkish base to the lower mandible, a shortish stout bill, pink legs and feet and a mostly gray back, making it a Red Phalarope. I watched it for several minutes, then all the peeps got up and flew around, but re-landed nearby and after some searching and scanning I was able to relocate the Red Phalarope and get even closer for great looks and photos
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard
Behavior: Feeding and preening by walking/wading on mudflats and shoreline
Habitat: Shoreline of Great Salt Lake
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Red-necked Phalarope are very similar but have a longer thinner bill that comes to a needle like point and is all black. They also have some black, gray and white streaking in the mantle, are smaller and have gray legs and feet.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Yes, several
References consulted: Memory
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Bryant Olsen
Observer's address: 84102
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Kendall Watkins and Lauri Taylor reported it later that day
Date prepared: 9-22-2020
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: eBird checklist: