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Boundary Bay Shorebirds again - July 7 2014

Posted by Liron on Friday, July 18, 2014
On July 7 2014, I spent another awesome day at Boundary Bay! After almost 8 hours of lying in the mud, I left with some shots that I am very happy with!

It did not take long for me to spot some shorebirds from up on the dike. It was a group of Western Sandpipers, and I went down on the mudflats to try for some shots. The morning light made for some really nice reflection shots:

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Of course, as usual at Boundary Bay, there was a Peregrine Falcon around. It made a pass, causing shorebirds from all directions to take flight. Although the falcons often ruin your close up shots, they make for great flight shots of the sandpipers:

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After a while the shorebirds settled down, though many disappeared in the distance. Next up was a group of Least Sandpipers that were feeding:

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While photographing the Least Sandpipers I heard a Killdeer calling and sure enough this chick was walking around with its parents:

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Check out the camouflage!
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I then went back to the migrant shorebirds. Another group had arrived, and this flock had three species in it: Western, Least, and Semipalmated Sandpipers. Most were Western Sandpipers, so I started off photographing them:

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Next, I got some nice shot of a Semipalmated Sandpiper that was in the flock:

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The third species, Least Sandpipers, also posed for shots:

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After getting tons of shots, I left the group to feed, and continued walking. It wasn't long before I spotted another small flock land nearby:

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These were all Western Sandpipers except for one Semipalmated Sandpiper. I decided to focus on getting shots of the Semipalmated Sandpiper. I ended up getting very close shots that I am very happy with!

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The Semipalmated Sandpiper soon wandered off so I went back to shooting the Western Sandpipers:

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These sandpipers were nice and close, which meant lots of good shots. It is hard to get them with their beaks up as they are constantly moving them in and out of the mud! While photographing them I noticed another sandpiper flock flying around:

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What happened next was amazing, and it has only happened to me a few times before. The flock landed all around me. I was surrounded by sandpipers and many were way to close for me to focus! If this bird was one centimetre closer it would have been out of focus:

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They soon realized they had just landed close to a human and after staring at me for a minute they hustled off to some sea grass for cover. I backed away and began looking for more shorebirds. To my delight nearby there was a large flock of Western and Least Sandpipers bathing in a deeper tidal pool:

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After they finished bathing, they went up onto some rocks to rest and preen:

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Cool feet!
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Though the flock had mainly Western Sandpipers, as I mentioned there were a few Least Sandpipers. One of them came up on the rock as well:

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By spending so much time at the bay I have learned the shorebirds behavior cycles after doing things like bathing and preening, so I was ready for this shot:

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It was getting late now so I decided to call it a day. It had been another great day!

Here is are some video clips I filmed of Western Sandpipers on the 7th. Be sure to set quality to HD!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rccVIpCwYdM&list=UUHJsuToncE2kbInUZ6cxtsg


I am now running private shorebird photography workshops out at Boundary Bay. These birds are very difficult to photograph and it has taken me years to come up with strategies to allow me to get close to these amazing but shy birds and to get good shots. To join me for a day of shooting at the bay, visit:http://lironsnaturephotogalleries.yolasite.com/workshops.php


Thanks for looking! :) 
Coming soon: more shots from the bay that I took on the 16th, including my best shots yet of Semipalmated Plovers.



 

 

 

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