|Wilson's Phalarope. San Luis Rey River mouth, Oceanside, California. September 7, 2014. Greg Gillson.|
Most shorebirds have unwebbed feet. Some shorebirds, however, have partial webs between their toes. The phalaropes are unique among shorebirds in being lobate--having flaps or lobes that aid in swimming, much as the feet of grebes and coot.
As with many shorebirds, phalaropes have a bright breeding plumage, a gray winter plumage, and the young have a long-held juvenile plumage they keep through the fall into winter.
For a photo I took of a bright female in breeding plumage in Oregon in 2010, see my Pacific NW Birder blog post: "Memorial Day weekend at Malheur: Part 9."