Red Phalaropes and phalaropes in general are an interesting family. So small and dainty yet they make a living among the high seas among jaegers and gulls and other predators. The bushtits of the sea bird world. On North Carolina pelagics you don't ordinarily get much time to study them up close because they routinely fly away upon approach. They have bills a bit thicker than Red-necked Phalaropes and the black ear patch is a fairly good field mark in non-breeding seasons. Not to mention that in the winter they are the default phalarope.