Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Red Phalarope Invasion

Tuesday, January 3, 2006
Two newsworthy items appeared in western newspapers concerning the unusual numbers of red phalaropes appearing along the Pacific Coast. This species normally winters in the offshore waters of the Pacific Ocean and is rarely seen on land. Flocks numbering more than 1,000 birds have been spotted on shore, even in residential neighborhoods.

Speculation over the causes for this phalarope invasion include abnormally stormy weather in the Pacific, making surface-gleaning difficult for these small birds, and a possible crash in the production of the birds' food base, small aquatic creatures.

Here are the two articles:
San Jose Mercury News
and from the Associated Press via the Tacoma, Washington News Tribune.