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Hi all! I only have a very bad photo, extremely cropped, so looking for a miracle here. Today there was a group of about 10 of these gull-like birds flying low over the water just to the west of San Clamente Island off the coast of San Diego. Very visible white strip running across the top of the wings with a dark beak and dark around the eyes. 

Thank you!

Mike

DSC03155.jpg

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unsure on this one, maybe a species of jaeger, build of the bird seems right for them at least as well as their position over the water and their apparent speed. The apparent amount of flapping does not quite line, up as well as the size of the wing and the small size of the bird, but I am just shooting in the dark on this one, wait for experts.

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32 minutes ago, blackburnian said:

These are phalaropes. Look like Red to me, but I don’t have a ton of experience with them.

Awesome! Bill does look a little thicker, which would mean red, but super hard to tell from the photos.

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7 minutes ago, Sean C said:

Red Phalaropes

That's 3 votes for Red... enough to change my e-bird checklist from red/red-necked to red?

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16 minutes ago, mikerigney said:

That's 3 votes for Red...

You can make that four.

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i can agree with a red after looking at them on merlin and doing a little research

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Tight flock of small, pale shorebirds flying low over open ocean water along the California coast in winter is almost always one of two things - Red Phalaropes or Sanderlings. 

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Thank you so much everyone, that is a lifer for me! I'm heading back out today, will try for better photos, but seems like it's a fluke that they fly close past the boat.

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