Showing posts with label shorebirds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shorebirds. Show all posts

Friday, January 24, 2020

Sanderling at dusk, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Sanderling wading in shallow water at dusk in Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

A few years ago I had a wonderful evening spent with a large flock of sanderlings as they settled in to roost along the beach at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. After the sun dropped below the dunes behind me, beautiful pastel colors were reflected in a pool of shallow water at the edge of the beach. A lot of the birds were preening or tucking their bills in to rest, but this one slowly walked through the water, providing some lovely reflections without making many waves in the still water.

Sanderling with pastel reflection


Monday, January 13, 2020

Willet catches a crab, Bunche Beach Preserve

Willet feeding in the shallows at Bunche Beach

It was fun to work some shorebird reflections in the rapidly rising water of this tidal pool at Bunche Beach Preserve in Florida a few years ago. The diversity of prey that the birds pulled from the water was remarkable, and in the shot below, this willet came up with a small crab!

Willet snatches a small crab from a tidal pool


Friday, January 10, 2020

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Monday, December 30, 2019

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Piping plover mother brooding her chicks, Sandy Point State Reservation

Piping plover chick approaching its mother to brood

The photo above is another one that made my list of 2019 favorites. I love the color tones provided by the warm sunrise light under a high overcast sky, and I'm drawn to the sense of interaction as the piping plover chick approached its mother to brood. A few other chicks were already tucked underneath their mother, so this chick was searching for the right spot to sneak in.

Piping plover looking for an opening to snuggle under its mother

In the frame below, I love the look shared between this young chick and its mother -- these are the moments of connection we strive to capture as wildlife photographers. As an individual photograph though, I feel like it fell a little short of having enough connection with the viewer. The mother turned her head back far enough to look at the chick that it leaves me feeling disconnected from her in the photograph. The emotion of the young chick's expression still warms my heart though.

Moment of interaction between a piping plover chick and its mother

After a little bit of trying to find an opening between its siblings, this chick found a spot under her wing and tucked itself out of sight.

Three piping plover chicks under their mother


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Brooding piping plover, Sandy Point State Reservation

Piping plover brooding its chicks on the beach in Massachusetts

At the end of the year it's always fun to look back through the photographs I've made over the last 12 months. In 2019, the bulk of my work came during the summer, and especially during the time when tiny piping plover chicks were scurrying across the beaches at Sandy Point State Reservation. I had been saving a few of the photos I knew would be on my list of 2019 favorites to post throughout the fall, and while I didn't get to it then, I'll share them now.

Piping plover brooding chicks in Massachusetts

I love to photograph parent plovers caring for their chicks, and especially when the young ones are tucked underneath to brood. I have many different compositions of similar images from the summer, but I've been really drawn to the combination of lighting and color from the dunes in the background in these. When viewed together, I think this series shows how important the tiny changes in head position can be for changing the feeling of an image. Overall, the top photo is my favorite, with a clean profile view. But I also like the one just above, which adds a touch of connection between the plover and the camera. And then there's the image below, which loses the connection to the viewer and adds the focus of the parent on its chicks.

Piping plover looking after its brooding chicks

Thanks for viewing and Happy Holidays to you and yours!!


Saturday, October 19, 2019

Semipalmated sandpiper with prey, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

A semipalmated sandpiper pulls prey from the sand in Massachusetts

It was fun to watch this small flock of semipalmated sandpipers rapidly work over the wet sand left behind by the receding tide along the Lot 6 beach in Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. The pace they were moving up the beach suggested that there wasn't much left to feed on, but this sandpiper found what appears to be a small worm, which was quickly swallowed.


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Seeking shelter on the tidal flats, Piping plovers at Sandy Point

A piping plover looks to brood under his father's wing in Massachusetts

I had a lot of fun watching this family of piping plovers on my first trip to Sandy Point State Reservation for the summer breeding season. I initially encountered them along the dunes, but eventually some of the chicks decided to explore the expansive tidal flats of a very low tide. The patterns in the sand left behind by the receding water made for a unique setting to photograph them as they sought refuge under their father's wing.

Piping plover shelters two chicks under his wing on the tidal flats


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Piping plover chick in the spotlight, Sandy Point State Reservation

Piping plover chick illuminated by sunrise light at Sandy Point State Reservation

Warm sunrise light with just enough high clouds in the sky came together to illuminate this young piping plover chick while it was exploring the beach at Sandy Point State Reservation.


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Piping plover family in the rain, Sandy Point State Reservation

Piping plover parent with three chicks on a rainy day

The dreary last few days in the Boston area reminds me of my first trip this summer to see the piping plover chicks at Sandy Point State Reservation. There were dull-gray skies with off and on drizzle, but it was great to spend some time watching this piping plover family. In this frame, two chicks are already under their parent, and it's pretty clear the third wants to get out of the rain as well.


Saturday, October 5, 2019

Preening sandpipers, Sandy Point State Reservation

Photograph of two semipalmated sandpipers, with one sleeping and one preening

One of the pleasures of watching wildlife is when they are totally indifferent to your presence. After slowly approaching a large flock of sandpipers resting on the beach, the shorebirds simply went about their morning business. This pair of semipalmated sandpipers was near the front of the group, with one napping while the other preened its feathers.


Friday, October 4, 2019

Sanderling and reflection, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

A sanderling is reflected in wet sand while feeding in Massachusetts

I took a long walk on the beach before finally reaching a mid-sized flock of sanderlings feeding in front of the rising tide. The group was fast-moving and active, so it was a bit of a challenge to get clean shots. I spent some time pointing my lens right into the heart of the action, but I also attempted to isolate a few birds when they stepped to the edges of the main group.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Roosting semipalmated sandpiper, Sandy Point State Reservation

Resting semipalmated sandpiper on the beach

High tide was right around sunrise on this September morning, and after following a small flock of sanderlings feeding along the beach at first light, I decided to walk to the tip of Sandy Point State Reservation. With so much of the tidal flats submerged below the tide, I figured there was a reasonable chance the shorebirds would be roosting somewhere on the beach. Sure enough, I didn't get too far down the beach before spotting the first group of semipalmated plovers at the edge of a larger flock of mixed shorebirds. I slowly belly-crawled my way into their presence and enjoyed watching the flock rest and preen, including this semipalmated sandpiper.


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Leaning in, Semipalmated sandpiper at Parker River NWR

Striding semipalmated sandpiper at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts

I read an article recently about photographing wildlife at local parks. It included a thought that resonated with me about looking for a dynamic behavioral moment that can make even a common animal seem more interesting. I tend to find sandpipers fascinating regardless of what they are doing, but as this semipalmated sandpiper slightly changed directions and shifted its weight to the right, its lean added a bit of extra interest to this frame.


Sunday, September 1, 2019

Striding dunlin, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Dunlin pauses mid-stride while walking on the beach in Massachusetts

This dunlin stood out in a group of mostly sanderlings on a fall visit to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge a few years ago. This was one of the first trips where I was experimenting with taking my camera off of a ground-level tripod to get an even lower perspective. The difference of only a few inches of vertical (from the top of a ballhead to the lens footplate resting on the ground) made a noticeable difference in my images, and I've never gone back.


Saturday, August 31, 2019

Semipalmated sandpiper, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Low-angle view of a smipalmated sandpiper on Plum Island, Massachusetts

The small flock of semipalmated sandpipers I was spending time with on this August morning were in constant motion. Both rapidly probing the sand and steadily cruising down the beach. This bird thankfully paused for just long enough to give me a nice pose with two tiny droplets of water falling from its bill.


Friday, August 30, 2019

Two extra legs and a long shadow, Sandy Point State Reservation

Piping plover with chick underneath on Plum Island, Massachusetts

It was nice to watch this parent piping plover watch over its young chick on the beach at Sandy Point State Reservation, though it was also a little bittersweet. Piping plovers generally hatch four chicks with each brood, and this pair of parents had only this one left. I can only imagine how tough it must be to keep such a tiny family of chicks safe in that environment. But it was inspiring to see a bunch of piping plover fledglings roaming the beach when I returned in early August.

Piping plover vocalizes while brooding a chick


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Piping plover chick in morning light, Sandy Point State Reservation

Piping plover chick standing tall in morning light on Plum Island, Massachusetts

This curious piping plover chick quickly came close to check me out when I arrived on the beach on this July morning. The sun had just risen above the Atlantic, but we were still in the shadow of the small hill at Sandy Point State Reservation, lending both a warmth and coolness to the morning light. After giving me a once over from its tall pose, the chick quickly returned to its business of scouring the beach for tiny prey.