Ruddy Turnstone in early morning light – Nikon D200, handheld, f9, 1/500, ISO 320, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
I photographed this Ruddy Turnstone at Fort De Soto County Park in Florida several years ago as it stood on the sandy beach in early morning light. I like how the sunlight created a subtle warm glow to the shorebird’s plumage and the great catch light. This image was taken in November when the Turnstones were in nonbreeding plumage.
Photographers, please be sure to check my post from yesterday; Standing up against Google’s new Image Search and the copyright issues involved – Class action lawsuit, I feel it is important to take a stand against Google now because who knows what they might do in the future that puts our copyrights at further risk.
More Ruddy Turnstone images
Female Long-billed Curlew – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
Some people think of Robins as the harbinger of spring, some think of Bluebirds while others think of Meadowlarks but since I moved to Utah I think of Long-billed Curlews as my personal harbinger of spring. Last year they showed up the middle of March so right now it is just a little over a month before they arrive.
I photographed this female Long-billed Curlew a few years ago in Florida. The females have such long bills!
As much as I love winter I can’t wait to hear the haunting call of the Long-billed Curlews.
More Long-billed Curlew images
Wilson’s Plover in dried Sea Purslane – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 250, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
One of the shorebirds that I saw often along the coast of Florida year round was the Wilson’s Plover. Wilson’s Plover are the largest of the belted plovers and are found primarily along the coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic ocean up to about the Chesapeake Bay, they can also be found on the Pacific coast of the Baja Peninsula of Mexico. Their long, thick black bill is distinctive and a great key for identification.
Just watching the two chicks running around in the dunes like small windup toys made me realize what a hard job it is for the adult plover to protect their young. I very much enjoyed the setting I photographed this plover in and loved the loose feather near the bird’s rump.
More Wilson’s Plover images
Sanderling in nonbreeding plumage – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 200, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 300mm, natural light
Sanderlings look very different in appearance during breeding season and winter and novice birders might even think they are two different species. I’ve heard people call nonbreeding Sanderlings “drab” and “plain” and while they might not be as colorful in nonbreeding plumage I personally wouldn’t call them drab or plain. I would, however; call them a challenge to expose properly and to get them in the frame because they are very active shorebirds when feeding.
The Sanderling above is in nonbreeding plumage and it was racing down the beach hunting for prey when I photographed it. At first I wasn’t happy with the motion blur of the bird’s right foot but the more I looked at this image the more I liked the motion blur because it indicates movement.
Sanderling in breeding plumage – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/500, ISO 400, Nikkor 70-300mm at 300mm, natural light
This image taken about a month later than the first image shows a Sanderling in breeding plumage, it was created during May which is about the time that the Sanderlings head north to their breeding grounds. Although the belly is still white and the legs and bill are still black the head, neck and back of the bird is quite different. Rufous is the color I think of when seeing a Sanderling in breeding plumage because that color is evident in the head, neck and back of the bird.
A side note; I often hear people say you must have a long (read expensive) lens to photograph birds and in some cases you do actually need a long lens to get frame filling images of birds however in some situations you can get those even with a shorter focal length. Both of the images above were taken with an inexpensive Nikkor 70-300mm VR lens and what made them possible is that these birds were habituated to human presence on the beach so they weren’t as nervous around me and I used very slow belly crawls to get close to them. By being low I appeared less threatening to them and at times the birds would come in so close I could not focus on them. Down & dirty can and does pay off.
More Sanderling images