They spin around in the water to trap food in a little whirlpool. Pretty cool. We saw a lot of phalaropes on Antelope Island. They are already finished breeding and heading back south for the winter and its only July. We stopped along the causeway to admire the throngs of phalaropes in the water and along the shoreline when all of a sudden, they all took flight. Our group of birders spotted a Peregrine Falcon chasing after the birds. Birds often fly in "murmuration" to confuse the predator. I've seen murmurations before but this one was spectacular.
You can hear our tour guide say that he estimates 250,000 phalaropes in the area. Wow. Unfortunately for the shorebirds, there were only 249,999 after the Peregrine flew through. We watch the falcon have lunch on on the mudflat while the other birds settled down. I don't think I've ever seen a flock of birds that large before.
Seeing that many birds is really incredible but you can't really get a good look or photo of any individual bird. On another day, we did get close up to a few shorebirds including a few Wilson's phalaropes.
|Long-billed Dowitcher and Wilson's Phalarope|
|Wilsons facing off - phalarope and snipe|