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More shorebirding at the bay

Posted by Liron on Tuesday, July 8, 2014
On July 4 2014 I biked all around Delta, covering about 45 kilometers. The highlight was my stop at Boundary Bay, where the shorebird migration had definitely picked up since my last visit! My last visit on June 24 turned up 5 migratory shorebirds, Western Sandpipers and a Dunlin. This visit turned up well over 2,000 migratory shorebirds, Western Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, a Dunlin, and a Semipalmated Plover. It was awesome!

It did not take me long to spot some Least Sandpipers feeding while riding my bike, so I locked it up and down on the mudflats I went! The mud crawling began and I got closer than I have ever been before to these birds:

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After a while I left the Least Sandpipers behind, and went out farther on the mudflats. I soon spotted a Dunlin feeding. This bird was almost completely still in breeding plumage, something we don't see often with Dunlins around here, so it made for some really nice shots!

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At one point a Northern Harrier flew over, and the Dunlin ran towards the nearest cover. Not a great shot but a very interesting behavior to see! I knew something was up when it ran for cover, but I did not see the harrier coming until long after the Dunlin did!

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To see a video of the Dunlin feeding, go to this link (make sure to set quality to HD): 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nNa7ac ... InUZ6cxtsg


I continued walking out on the mudflats, and I ran into my first large sandpiper flock of the season! There were at least 1,500 Western Sandpipers with other species mixed in such as a Semipalmated Plover and multiple Semipalmated Sandpipers.

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The flock disappeared in the distance, and I was pretty sure I wouldn't see them again. To my luck later on they came back and landed not too far from where I was, so I began some more mud crawling! At first they were very shy but eventually they got used to my presence, and some even came too close for me to focus!

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You know if they don't mind having you around if they start to sleep right in front of you!

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While photographing the Western Sandpipers I had my eyes open for any other species, and soon this Semipalmated Sandpiper stepped out right in front of me. Unfortunately I did not get the head in focus in this shot:

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This Semipalmated Plover, one of my favorite shorebird species, made a brief appearance as well before disappearing back among all the sandpipers:

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Later, back on my bike, I stopped to take some photos of this Merlin that was perched in a tree:

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It was a great day of shorebirding! :) 


Today (July 7) I was out there again and got more good shots including my best ever of Semipalmated Sandpipers and also some more nice ones of Western and Least Sandpipers.


I am happy to announce that I am now running private shorebird photography workshops out at Boundary Bay! Migratory shorebirds are very difficult to photograph well, and it is taken me multiple years to develop techniques to allow me to get close to these amazing but shy birds. If you would like to join me for a day of shooting at the bay, visit:http://lironsnaturephotogalleries.yolas ... kshops.php


Thanks for looking! :)



 

 

 

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