Western Sandpiper on the Go

Western Sandpiper on the goWestern Sandpiper on the go – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 70-300mm VR with 1.4x TC at 300mm, natural light

It dawned on me this morning that I haven not posted an image of a Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) here yet so I pulled this one out of my archives that I photographed at Fort De Soto, Florida as the small shorebird ran in front of me on the shoreline. Western Sandpipers winter along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coastlines as well as in the Caribbean and interior Mexico. The bird above was going into breeding plumage as indicated by the rusty cap and cheek patch, in full breeding plumage the wings would also show more rust color.

I was laying in the wet sand on the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico when I created this image, I had been photographing nearly stationary birds when I saw this sandpiper about to run in front of me so I panned my lens to keep up with the running bird. I didn’t have time to change my ISO to gain shutter speed so the movement of the legs is not frozen. In this case though I like the motion blur of the legs because in my eye it shows movement.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. A perfectly darling bird perfectly shot! Outstanding!

  2. Beautiful capture, Mia!

  3. What a gorgeous photo! Love the detail and the little dance step the bird is doing. :-)

  4. Beautiful capture Mia! Gorgeous detail and color!!

  5. Nice image. I miss these little guys. I sincerely hope I get well enough to make it out to the coast before peak season is over. Well done.

  6. Love this Sandpiper image. I think the one thing I enjoy most about your images is the beautiful light you find. Carol

    • Thanks Carol, let’s just say I get up very early to capture that light! Right now I am awake by 4:15 am to get out into the location by sunrise.

  7. What a beautiful photo, Mia. I love the overall softness of it, w/just the bird and its feathers in crisp detail. One of my favorites of your photos!

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