Foraging Semipalmated Plover in Florida

Semipalmated Plover with marine wormSemipalmated Plover with marine worm – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/800, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

I haven’t gotten out into the field lately to take new images so I thought I would dig through the photos I haven’t posted on my blog yet and find something to share this morning and quite naturally I picked a shorebird image mostly because they were the birds that sparked my passion for bird photography.

Among my favorite plovers to photograph when I lived in Florida were Semipalmated Plovers, I only saw them during their nonbreeding season where they spent time along the Gulf coast. Semipalmated Plovers breed in mossy or sandy tundra in northern Canada and Alaska and they can be found on mudflats, lake shores, salt marshes, tidal flats and fields from Virginia south to Florida, Mexico and the the Caribbean of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and from the coast of Washington state south to Mexico on the Pacific coast during their nonbreeding season. They can be found practically anywhere in North America on migration and they even migrate through Utah at that time although I have yet to find one here.

I photographed this foraging Semipalmated Plover at Fort De Soto County Park‘s north beach the end of June in 2009.  I got “down & dirty” to take this photo which basically means I was laying flat on the wet sand with my lens just barely above the beach to get a low angle perspective of the plover. I found that if I laid still long enough the birds had a tendency to ignore me and would come closer to me. The plover was actively foraging and when I photographed it the bird had just tugged a marine worm out of the wet sand. The thin layer of water on the sand helped to create an interesting reflection of the bird too.

I loved watching these small plovers in Florida whether they were resting, foraging, bathing or running along the shoreline in front of the the waves coming in from the Gulf of Mexico and they were great fun to photograph.

Life is good.



  1. Patty Chadwick January 28, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Every time I see images of your Florida birds I mourn the fact that I didn’t take time to learn more about them…birds like this little beauty…I spent as much time as I coukd at the beach, but as a new mother was too busy to do more than tske them for granted…too bad!!!

  2. April Olson January 28, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Beautiful photo. I wish we could get closer to birds here in Utah.

  3. Andy January 28, 2018 at 6:18 am

    Beautiful. Love the raised foot.

  4. Marty K January 28, 2018 at 6:11 am

    I especially like the action in this shot — what fabulous timing! 🙂 The reflection of the bird and worm is pretty neat too. The early bird may get the worm, but the dedicated and talented photographer gets the shot! 🙂

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