Gray Phalarope

Without Binoculars I would never see a Grey Phalarope. But at Mono Lake in California and Salt Lake City in Utah I did see them. We spell gray and Europeans spell grey.

These small pelagic waders (oxymoron here) like salt water. They are so much fun to watch because when they are feeding they swim around in circles. In my opinion they are almost shorebirds because they do linger near the shore, but just far enough away to require assisted viewing, like binoculars. On these trips I had other binoculars with me but my favorite pocket binoculars came through in the end and were handy right away while my partner groped through our packs for a pair with better magnification. If you are looking for something very useful and easy to tote, go for a pair of compact Bushnells. The quality is not the quite good and it is less expensive and easy to have with you wherever you go. Did I tell you that They are also very affordable?
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Phalaropes breed in arctic areas and are found in warmer waters in summer, when they have brighter colors. They are from 6-10 inches long, so the binoculars and scope really help. The circular swimming at feeding time makes a whirlpool effect and draws small food items close to them.
These birds have been around since Pliocene and Oligocene times, according to fossil records. There are 3 kinds of Phalaropes, with common names slightly different in Europe. Wilsons, Red/Grey, and Red-necked are all identified as distinct species.

During their oceanic travels you need better binoculars than my favorite little ones. Marine binoculars are best. ~

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