My sightings of Greater Roadrunners have often proved to be eccentric and unpredictable. Having spent all morning bashing the Sonoran Desert hoping to find my lifer roadrunner for example, I retired to a burger restaurant only to watch Mrs Geococcyx brazenly skip down the drive-through lane and cock an eye up at the delivery window.

All my sightings up until now have come from Arizona. They always catch me by surprise, even when I am looking for them, so it came as quite a shock when one stepped out in front of me in Orange County, Ca. The reserve at San Joaquin had already been very generous to me, so I was delighted to add to my California list in such style.

But even better was to come. New to California, indeed new to my North America list, was a Red-necked Phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus.

In the famed Pond C, a few Black-necked Stilts and American Avocets swept through the shallow water. When a Cooper’s Hawk flew over the birds closed ranks and when they dispersed after the danger had passed, a small black and white bird was left in the middle of the pond.

It came across to the bank beneath me for a few moments, allowing a nice close view. A second bird flew in to join it for a short while before flying out, leaving the first bird alone again.

Previously, my encounters with Red-necked Phalaropes had been limited to Japan and Hong Kong, so it was quite a kick to get one on my American list.

Written by Redgannet
Redgannet worked for more than 35 years as a flight attendant for an international airline. He came to birding late in his career but, considering the distractions, doesn't regret the missed opportunities. He was paid to visit six continents and took full advantage of the chance to bird the world. He adopted the nom de blog, Redgannet, to avoid remonstrations from his overbearing employer, but secretly hoped that the air of mystery would make him more attractive to women. Now grounded, he is looking forward to seeing the seasons turn from a fixed point.