American Avocet and Red-necked Phalaropes - 11 Jun 2024

A Hudsonian Godwit and Black-necked Stilt were reported in Cell 3 at Pt. Mouillee yesterday, and although I suspected that neither would be there this morning I decided to check for them first thing this morning. Parking at the Roberts Road parking lot I rode out along the Banana Unit toward Cell 3. Skies were clear and the Sun shone bright above the horizon. It was chilly with temps only around 45F, though. It would warm fast.

I rode along the west sides of Cell 1 until I reached the junction with Cell 2. I then headed to the Lake Erie shoreline and continued north to Cell 3. Birds were relatively scarce with only the occasional Indigo Bunting singing or Red-winged Blackbirds scattering from the phragmites. The beach opposite of Cell 3 was empty of bird life.

As the phragmites opened up I could see into Cell 3 and quickly confirm my suspicion that the Hudsonian Godwit and Black-necked Stilt were not present. However, along the west side of the open waters I spotted an American Avocet foraging in shallow water.

Only a dozen or so American White Pelicans were roosting on the edge of the mudflats this morning along with a dozen Caspian Terns, another dozen Forster's Terns, and a pair of Black Terns.

I left the bike and hiked across the ditch to the top of Cell 3 and made my way to the edge of the vegetation to the dried mudflats. There I set up the scope and scanned the waters and edge of the mudflats for shorebirds. Dunlin continue (about 2 dozen) and Semipalmated Sandpipers (4-dozen) were scattered along the water's edge but mostly out in the middle of the expanse of mud.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a pair of Red-necked Phalaropes foraging in the NW corner of Cell 3 about as far away as possible from my position. 

I made my way out onto the mudflats, which is dried and cracked, but still soft underfoot. I was careful to not get stuck and wandered toward the NW corner where I could get better views of the American Avocet and the phalaropes. I hung the Sony a1 and 600/4 combo on the scope and digiscoped the avocet from a good 50-70' away. The bird was gorgeously illuminated by the morning Sun.

The Red-necked Phalaropes appeared to be a female (left) and male (right).

The male was browner overall with less red on the neck while the female was a smokier gray w/ bright red neck and whiter cheek patches. Both showed white eyelids.

Gorgeous female Red-necked Phalarope.

Still handsome male.

I was a bit closer to the American Avocet at this point so I tried some digiscoping at magnifications of ~40X. This gave me an EFL ~ 40X x 40mm x 1.5 = 2400 mm.

Semipalmated Sandpipers were foraging on the mudflats nearby so I took a few pics whenever they would flush. 

Among them were several Dunlin in alternate (breeding) plumage but one Dunlin was still in basic plumage.

I made sure to document the Dunlin and verify that I wasn't looking at a White-rumped Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, or even a rare Curlew Sandpiper.

I made my way back to the bike then rode north to the Middle Causeway just long enough to scan the NE corner for the Black-necked Stilt. Nothing. I decided then to ride the Banana Unit back to the Roberts Road parking lot and head home. 

Pte. Mouillee SGA (permit required Sep 1-Dec 15), Monroe, Michigan, US
Jun 11, 2024 8:31 AM - 9:03 AM
Protocol: Traveling
5.78 mile(s)
Checklist Comments:     Parked at Roberts Rd and rode to Cell 3
42 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  12
Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors)  2
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)  2
Gadwall (Mareca strepera)  4
American Wigeon (Mareca americana)  1
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  18
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)  4
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  2
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)  1     Cell 3. Photos.
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  6
Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)  5
Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)  2     Pair in Cell 3. Female and lighter-colored male. Photos.
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)  1
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)  12
Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)  46
Bonaparte's Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)  1
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  3
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  2
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)  6
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)  4
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)  6
Double-crested Cormorant (Nannopterum auritum)  1
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)  12
Great Egret (Ardea alba)  2
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  2
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii)  2
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)  1
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia)  2
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)  6
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  2
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)  4
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  16
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  48
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)  4
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  2
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  2
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)  2
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)  7

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (


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