Photo of the Week: Wilson’s Phalarope at Lake Erie Metropark

Along with dozens of other birders in southeast Michigan and beyond, I traveled to Lake Erie Metropark in Brownstown Township, Michigan in late May to look for the slender Wilson’s Phalarope, a rare shorebird for Wayne County, Michigan.

Smaller and more slender than a Killdeer, the Wilson’s Phalarope has a needle-thin black bill, cinnamon colored neck, white breast, broad black strip on the gray back, with lanky black legs during breeding season.

And they can easily hide in the grass.

When I saw them in May, I could only see the tops of their heads, poking out above the blades of grass.

No one reported seeing the birds after that last week in May.

Fast forward a month, the birds were sighted again at the metropark.

This time with babies!

I was excited to learn from other birders that two broods of Wilson’s Phalaropes, 7 young birds, are at the metropark.

While I searched for over two hours, I finally found the birds along the road, moving in and out of a wet grassy depression about 10 feet from the road.

As I mentioned, they hide well in the grasses!

But never got a chance to see the babies.

I learned from one of our long-time birders in southeast Michigan, that the broods may be the first confirmed breeding record for the state of Michigan in many years.

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About the Author

Deborah Edwards-Onoro helps small businesses, consultants, nonprofits, and higher ed with creative and distinctive websites. Deborah shares her expertise with web design, user experience, and accessibility on her blog, social media, and at meetup events. As organizer of Refresh Detroit, West Metro Detroit WordPress, and Metro Detroit WordPress, she encourages members to share their knowledge and experiences. In her free time, you'll find her birding, shooting photos, reading, or watching tennis.
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