Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



"A Nesting Report of a Wilson's Phalarope in Lancaster County," in Nebraska Bird Review (September 1991) 59(3): 59-61. Copyright 1991, Nebraska Ornithological Union. Used by permission.


Only once before has a nesting record of Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) been reported in Lancaster County. This report is in The Nebraska Bird Review, December 1985. Employees of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission discovered two fledglings at a site in the northeast part of the county at 98th and Ashland Road. The two fledglings were found in a wet meadow. They were accompanied by two male and one female phalaropes. The sighting was made on 13 June 1985.

On 7 June 1991 I visited Arbor Lake, a recently purchased salt marsh about one mile north of Interstate 80 along North 27th Street. This site is currently being managed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for the city of Lincoln. My reason for visiting the site was to see what kind of birds utilized the area.

In the area that day I saw a female Orchard Oriole building a nest in an American elm tree along the west bank of Little Salt Creek as it parallels North 27th Street for part of the creek's reach to the north. In the same area I found a male and female Blue Grosbeak. Not too far to the north, Arbor Lake spread itself over the landscape attracting the following birds: 4 Killdeer, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 3 male Blue-winged Teals, 2 female and 1 male Mallards, 3 Semipalmated Sandpipers, 4 White-rumped Sandpipers, about 40 Red-winged Blackbirds, 1 male WIlson's Phalarope, and a number of Bank Swallows flying low over the marsh.

The male phalarope came flying toward me from afar as I advanced eastward through the transition zone of the marsh. The lone male tries to lead me from the area with an aerial distraction display. I made no attempt to find the nesting site, but worked my way into the marsh to see the shorebirds farther to the east using a tripod-held spotting scope.