American Avocets (Recurvirostra americana) are birds that I look forward to seeing in spring, I have already seen some from a distance this year. They are not year round residents in Utah although I have seen them as late as December a few times.
American Avocet foraging in a shallow pond – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
Avocets are long-legged shorebirds that forage in the shallows of the lakes, ponds and marshes in Utah. They also breed here in areas near where they find their prey. I have seen them numbering in the thousands just by making one loop of the auto tour at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.
American Avocet at the edge of the marsh – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1500, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
I photographed these birds last year in May after the Avocets had begun their mating rituals and were in the process of selecting nesting sites. Unfortunately the roads to the auto tour loop were closed from the end of May until September due to road construction that took most of two summers and that meant not seeing the birds on the nest or their young.
Although the paved road is nice I feel that I (and many others) missed out on seeing a lot of wonderful birds and animals during that time period and that perhaps the road could have been created without blocking complete access to this incredible area for the public. My opinion might not be popular but roads have been built before that didn’t block traffic for months.
American Avocet in the grasses – Nikon D200, f9, 1/800, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
I do hope that I will be able to photograph these graceful, elegant birds and their young this year at the refuge, see them foraging in the ponds and listen to their calls at Bear River this year. They are fascinating shorebirds.