Black-bellied Plover on the hunt
Mudflats on a Fort De Soto lagoon
D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/250, ISO 200, 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
I love watching Black-bellied Plovers (Pluvialis squatarola) hunting. They take a few steps, stop, look and listen, then do it all over again. They look very different in breeding and nonbreeding plumage, this plover is in nonbreeding plumage.
Black-bellied Plovers tend to associate with other shorebirds on their winter grounds, you will often see them with willets, godwits, the small plovers, sandpipers, turnstones and sanderlings. Those species benefit from having black-bellied plovers in their midst because this species is a sentinel bird. They watch the skies and land for predators or intruders and when they feel threatened they sound a loud alarm with their call. The other shorebirds pay heed to the alarm call and scatter to confuse the predators.
This image was taken in very early morning light as the plover hunted the mudflats, I really like the pose of the bird, the light and the setting.