Thursday, October 6, 2011

Semipalmated Plover

I visited Bayocean Spit back in mid-August this past summer and got some really close looks at a flock of shorebirds on the beach. It started with a couple of Semipalmated Plovers which were eventually joined by a mixed flock of Sanderlings and Western Sandpipers.
I had rented a 400mm f2.8 lens and a 1.7x teleconverter from Pro Photo in Portland, which made the shoot that much more pleasurable as I was able to get even closer and clearer pictures than I would have with my 70mm - 300mm kit lens.
I was basically either kneeling or sitting on the beach with the camera mounted on a fully retracted monopod so I could get it as low as possible. I had a huge number of photos to choose from and have kind of been avoiding going through them as I knew it was going to take a lot of time and work. But, I finally got started on them tonight and choose some of the best Semipalmated Plover images to post.
I'm especially fond of the bottom photo as it pictures one of the Plovers taking a very short nap (I assume since its eyes got sleepy looking). I haven't seen a shorebird squat down like that before.
One behavior that I noticed for the first time was one of the Plovers shaking its leg. At first I thought there might be something wrong with it, but then I noticed that it was switching between its legs. I posted a question about it on OBOL and found out that they (along with other Plovers) do this to improve their chance of finding prey in shallow water.

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