Sanderling Racing the Waves at Fort De Soto

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Sanderling racing the wavesSanderling racing the waves – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikon 70-300mm VR at 300mm, natural light

I slept in this morning because I knew it was going to be dreary and gray with rain falling in the valley and snow in the high country. I really wasn’t sure what photo I wanted to share today but I had decided that it had to be something I had photographed on a warmer, sunnier day because after three days of staying home due to bad weather I am getting tired of gray days.

So I decided that I wanted to share this photo of a Sanderling racing the waves at Fort De Soto County Park in Florida because I photographed it on a warm, sunny day. Sanderlings used to keep me entertained on the sugar sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida as they scurried around searching for food at the water’s edge and then they would run up the beach as the waves came in. It wasn’t very often that I saw them standing still, they always seemed to be in motion. They also seemed to be quite used to the presence of humans and there were times when I was laying down in the sand or water that they came in so close it was hard to focus on them.

What I like about this photo is how the blur of the Sanderlings legs and the water implies motion while the face and bill of the bird are still sharply in focus.

A few facts about Sanderlings:

  • Sanderlings are small sandpipers with black legs, stout black bills and they appear very plump. They are very pale and grayish in nonbreeding plumage while in breeding plumage they are black, white and rufous.
  • Sanderlings are migratory. They breed in the tundra of the high Arctic in Canada and rarely Alaska. Their breeding habitat includes island and peninsulas that have moist sites with plentiful vegetation. Winter habitat for Sanderlings are coastal areas of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
  • The diet of Sanderlings includes crabs, amphipods and small crustaceans, polychaete worms, mollusks, and horseshoe crab eggs, flying insects, beetles, butterflies and moths. They will also eat plant material when other prey is not available.
  • Sanderlings lay 3 to 4 eggs which hatch in 24 to 31 days. They are monogamous but at times the females will breed with more than one male. Both sexes have incubation patches. Some times the female will leave the first male to incubate the first brood and she will incubate a second brood.
  • A group of sanderlings can be called a “grain” of sanderlings.
  • The oldest Sanderling was recorded to be just over 13 years.

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be better, I really hope so because I need to get back out with the birds and nature.

Life is good.


This Sanderling was photographed in April of 2009.


  1. Elephants Child November 17, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Beautiful thing.
    We have grey days here. Hopefully not wasted grey days. We really need the rain, and with that in mind, I am going to applaud the monochromatic sky. I do love the snippet of sun you have given us though.

  2. Patty Chadwick November 17, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Beautiful photo…makes me yearn for the warmth of sun and sand, soft breezes and turquoise water,,,but most of all, gentle breezes and warth….

  3. M. Bruce November 17, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Watching a “grain” of sanderlings chasing waves in and out as they feed, is one of the pure delights of a long walk on the beach.

  4. April Olson November 17, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Beautiful colors, some of my favorite tones.

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