Bathing Black-bellied Plover – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 160, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
This morning I went back into my archives looking for something to share today and came up with these photos of a Black-bellied Plover I photographed on February 28, 2009 at the north beach of Fort De Soto County Park.
I had been photographing foraging Marbled Godwits while laying on my stomach in the shallow waters of a tidal lagoon when this Black-bellied Plover flew in close to me and the bird proceeded to bathe in the warm waters of the lagoon not too far away from the Gulf of Mexico, I couldn’t resist photographing the plover as it bathed. Even though Black-bellied Plovers are far more striking in their breeding plumage I enjoyed seeing them in their nonbreeding plumage too.
Black-bellied Plover bathing in a lagoon – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/800, ISO 160, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
The hood of my lens was just barely above the top of the water when I photographed this plover bathing and I recall keeping an eye out for sneaker waves with my left eye as I focused on the bird with my right eye through the viewfinder as I fired the shutter button, sneaker waves can really mess up a camera if you don’t lift the camera up above them. That never happened to me but I know it has happened to other photographers that I know. Getting that low angle perspective with shorebirds near the water is important though even with a bit of risk involved.
As I took photo after photo of the Black-bellied Plover bathing I was hoping to photograph the bird at the end of its bath because these plovers always finish off with a wing flap and a jump up above the water but unfortunately at the last second the plover turned its back to me when it completed its bath.
After taking the quick bath in the tidal lagoon the Black-bellied Plover flew off towards the shoreline of the lagoon to shake and fluff its feathers until they were dry. At that point the plover was too far away to photograph it so I watched it from a distance before turning my lens back towards the godwits to take more photos of them. While I only had a only a brief encounter with this bird it was still fun to watch and photograph it.
Life is good.