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.

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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet has been working for over 33 years as a crew member/flight attendant and enjoys the well-ventilated air of the outdoors. The nom de blog, Redgannet, was adopted to add an air of mystery and to make himself more attractive to women. His father first whetted Redguga's appetite for all things natural by buying him his first pair of 7x35s and a copy of Thorburn's Birds. Having no mentor beyond an indulgent parent, he spent the first season hoping for an Egyptian Vulture at the bird table in his English garden. His most memorable birding moment is seeing an Egyptian Vulture with those same binoculars 26 years later. Redgannet is married to Canon, but his heart and half of his house belongs to Helen and their son Joseph. He is looking forward to communicating with people who don't ask if he is searching for the "feathered variety" of bird.