Shorebirds. They were what sparked my passion for bird photography. They were what drew me back to the Gulf Coast of Florida as much as I could be there. For me early on shorebirds were “it”. T0 photograph them meant getting up early and heading out before the sun had risen or heading to the coast to await the setting sun.
It meant getting sand in places that sand shouldn’t be. It meant holding my breath when algae bloomed in the saltwater lagoons because the smell could make me light-headed. It meant ignoring the biting flies or the tiny shrimp tickling my legs as I sat as still as could be in the water while focusing on the shorebirds. It meant sweating in the warm sun until my clothes were damp whether I had been in the water or not. It meant having mud from the tidal flats on my arms, legs and face when I got “down & dirty”. It meant I needed a whole lot of patience.
What it gave me. Joy that I could be so close to the birds that sparked my photography. I learned so much from and about them. I could watch their behaviors and feel like I was part of their world. Being with them gave me peace, a sense of balance and direction.
Being with them also gave me thousands of images of amazing shorebirds from the tiny Least Sandpipers to the larger Long-billed Curlews that found their way to Fort De Soto’s shores.
Even a few moments with a Black-bellied Plover at low tide was enough to enchant me and keep me going back for more. It was and still is.
Life is good.
These images were taken in December 2008. Black-bellied Plovers are our largest plover species in North America.