Wilson’s Phalarope

When I was at Nisqually I mentioned that I wanted to see a Snipe, one of the few birds in my book on Puget Sound birds that I still haven’t seen after five years of birding. A volunteer suggested that she’d often seen them at John’s River, south of Aberdeen. Since I was planning on going to the coast this week anyway, I decided to go down early the next day to look for snipes.

Needless to say, I didn’t see a single one at John’s River on Thursday.

But that was okay, because I ended up seeing the best birds of the day there. For instance, I haven’t seen a Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

since they closed the five-mile loop at Nisqually. Nor have I been this close to a Yellowlegs since they closed the loop.

Yellowlegs

Most of all, I’ve never seen a Wilson’s Phalarope

Wilson's Phalarope

since they’re extremely rare here in the Pacific Northwest. And, although it was quite shy, it seemed perfectly willing to wade around the far side of the pond as I snapped pictures for the next thirty plus minutes.

Wilson's Phalarope

It was one of those “aha” moments that makes the long walks and the waiting worthwhile. The sheer beauty of the bird and its totally unexpected appearance made this the kind of magical moment I’ll remember, the big one that didn’t get away.

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