American Avocets at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

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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

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

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

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.

Mia

10 Comments

  1. Jim Hackley March 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    There is something about them that really makes for a good photography bird, I guess the color scheme, legs and long bill. The first photo is really shows the bird well with the water background, excellent shot Mia.

    • Mia McPherson March 25, 2012 at 5:24 am

      Jim, I agree, I think the long legs and bill along with their wonderful colors makes American Avocets great subjects to photograph. They are so elegant looking. Thanks very much for your comment.

  2. Julie Brown March 21, 2012 at 4:13 am

    Nicely dressed in its breeding plumage!

    • Mia McPherson March 21, 2012 at 6:38 am

      Thanks Julie,American Avocets are particularly lovely in breeding plumage.

  3. Bob Zeller March 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Superb shots of the American Avocets, Mia. They are one of my favorite water birds.

    • Mia McPherson March 21, 2012 at 6:37 am

      Thanks much for your very kind comment Bob!

  4. Susan March 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Lovely photos of beautiful birds, I’d love to see them some day

    • Mia McPherson March 19, 2012 at 7:42 am

      Susan, I hope you get to see & photograph Avocets, they are such neat looking birds. Thanks!

  5. Tammy Karr March 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Outstanding photos! The Avocets seem so graceful! I have yet to see one, I sure hope that changes!

    • Mia McPherson March 19, 2012 at 7:41 am

      Thanks for your kind comment Tammy. Avocets are graceful looking shorebirds. I hope that you see one soon.

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