Wilson’s Phalarope and King Rail

Oops, I did it again, didn’t mean to disappear!

I’ve been doing a lot of birding the past few weeks during our region’s Spring songbird migration. Yep, I kinda got caught up in it. 😉

The fun, chase, and challenge gained me five new lifers (Wilson’s Warbler, Canada Warbler, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Wilson’s Phalarope, and King Rail). In addition, I was able to capture two of the five which are featured here.

The first of the two is the Wilson’s Phalarope. This beautiful shorebird stayed at a local pond at Chesapeake Farms for about a week to the thrill of many birders. Photos were a bit tough to achieve with it always hanging at the back of the pond, but I got ’em!

Wilson’s Phalarope (lifer #299, photographed #275)

The Wilson’s Phalarope usually migrates through the central to western United States to South America, and returns the same route to breed in the upper parts of the central to western U.S. and Canada. There are some known breeding areas in the New England states, this one may have been headed to its home there. Lucky for us locals with its week stopover to refuel, wherever it was headed!

Wilson’s Phalarope

The second photographed lifer was a super thrill, the elusive King Rail. I found it also at Chesapeake Farms in their 40-acre Hill Reservoir marsh.

The King Rail is a secretive bird. I was told that mine is the official third sighting for Kent County, Maryland, and farthest north on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The first was recorded back in 1891, the second heard in 2019 at Eastern Neck NWR. So I get to toot my little horn, right? 💃

King Rail (lifer #300, photographed #276)

King Rail

On a serious note, I feel extremely fortunate to have sighted this King Rail. King Rail populations have declined in all areas surveyed in North America, overall by an estimated 4.5% per year since 1966 according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, indicating a cumulative decline of 90% over that period. Partners in Flight estimates the global population at 70,000 birds, rates the species a 15 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and includes it on the Yellow Watch List for declining populations. The IUCN classifies King Rail as a “Near Threatened” species. Long-term declines in populations are mostly related to the massive loss of wetlands across North America. (courtesy AllAboutBirds.org)

King Rail’s Map Range

King Rail

I’ve taken a galore of bird photos in the past few weeks, I just need to sit still long enough to pick through them to process and share. 😉

Next up, a three-post series on my beloved Osprey that I’d been previously working on!

P.S. During my few week hiatus and restart, Word Press changed my format, forcing me now to use the Block editor (I’ve been using Classic for 10+ years). So that has been a huge negative getting restarted, I had to learn it to do this post. If it’s a little ‘out of whack’, you know why!

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