Plovers Oystercatchers Sandpipers Curlews Godwits Phalaropes Dowitchers Avocet Turnstone Yellowlegs

Important Announcement

From this point forward postings will be made on the main page, but the photos will also be added to the gallery. To see the written information about the photo do a search for the number (the first number, if it is a set).

1011
Moss Landing State Beach California – November 21, 2011
It is always a challenge for me to take a photo of more than one bird when they aren’t the same distance from my camera. My understanding of depth of field borders on how well I speak Latin. I haven’t taken the time to experiment with the shutter speed and aperture opening to master the experience. This first photo I zeroed in on the Marbled Godwit and got a pretty crisp photo of it. However, the Willet in the background is out of focus. On this second photo I tried to focus on the Willet, but neither bird is crisp. At least both birds in the second photo are somewhat in focus. If you click on the photos you will get a much larger view. Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-300 VC zoom at 300mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec

1010
Moss Landing State Beach – November 21, 2011
This set of photos was taken on the beach. I don’t go over to the beach that often, as I usually have plenty of action on the road side of the dunes. However, today was an exception because there was some good waves and I wanted to get some surfing photos for my Keep Santa Cruz Weird blog. Oh, I was listening to the news a couple days ago and I heard that some state parks are going to be shut down due to budget tightening. I couldn’t believe Moss Landing was on the list. I’m so mad. This is my absolute favorite bird site. I wouldn’t think it cost that much to maintain this park – a portable toilet or two and removing sand from the dunes that encroaches on the roadway. I’m hoping I can somehow get into the area even when it closes, but parking along Highway 1 could be a bit dangerous. Anyway, here are the other 3 photos. Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-300 VC zoom at 300mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec

1007
Moss Landing State Beach, California – November 21, 2011
This is the last posting of the Willets I found on this day. There were taken on the east side of the dunes – not on the beach. Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-300 VC zoom at 300mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/500 sec

1006
Moss Landing State Beach, California – November 21, 2011
Here are 5 photos showing the Willet feeding at the beach. Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-300 VC zoom at 300mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/640

1005
Moss Landing State Beach, California – November 21, 2011
Get ready for a Willet-thon. The next three postings will be full of Willets. Some of the photos were taken in the inland lake areas and some were taken on the beach. First, here are some flight photos.

999
Moss Landing State Beach – Moss Landing, California – November 21, 2011
I took similar photos back in October, but these came out a bit better even though I shot at 300mm rather than 500mm. I had to do heavy cropping on these, so I didn’t save the image at 800 x 600. I went back to the old standard of 640 x 480 to try to preserve a little more crispness. I guess the extra megapixels of the new camera are helping out and allowing me more cropping flexibility. Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-300 VC zoom at 300mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/500 sec

998
Moss Landing State Beach – Moss Landing, California – November 21, 2011
I haven’t seen a GL in awhile. This was the only bird of this species I saw during this trip. I like the bird’s reflection in the water. Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-300 VC zoom at 300 mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/500 sec, extensive cropping

997
Moss Landing State Beach – Moss Landing, California – November 21, 2011
November 21 was a pretty good day for the new D7000 and I. I got a little better at finding settings good for bird photography, and there was a large variety of birds this day.  I try to shoot with as low an ISO as possible, but it certainly didn’t help me when the LBC took off. I wasn’t able to freeze the action of the flying bird. The bird is also flying away, but since this was the first photo I’ve ever gotten of a flying LBC that you can even tell what bird it is, I thought I’d post it anyway. Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-300 VC zoom at 300mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/640 sec

993
Pleasure Point Area – Capitola, California – November 19, 2011
Here is a series of four photos of this species. This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen a flock of these birds in this location. However, it was the first time with a camera. At the end of Rockview Dr, there is a great place to watch the surfers, and some good rockery for birds. Just before the end of the street, you can walk down to the beach between two houses and then walk around to several rock areas. These birds were just at the bottom of the stairs. Click photo for an 800 x 600 view. Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-300 VC zoom at 300mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/320 sec

983
Moss Landing Beach, California – November 7, 2011
Most of my photos taken at Moss Landing are to the east of the dunes and the ocean. After walking the park area I walked over the dunes and walked the beach for a while. There were a few birds feeding in the surf. Here is one of my favorites. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500 mm, ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/1000 sec, tripod

982
Moss Landing, California – November 7, 2011
Here are four photos of this water bird. There were quite a few different species at Moss Landing this fall. This bird is not very colorful, but has a grace and style all its own. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/400 sec, tripod

981
Moss Landing, California – November 7, 2011
I love this species. They are very photogenic because of their long snozola. Unfortunately the photo is a little soft because I had to max out my telephoto lens. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/640 sec, tripod

979
Moss Landing, California – November 7, 2011
The sun didn’t cooperate here. Wouldn’t you know that most of the birds were on the side of the road that was facing the sun. Shawn and I have come to the conclusion that this must be a Least Sandpiper.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 450mm, f/6.3, 1/400, ISO 200, tripod

978
West Cliff Drive – Santa Cruz, California – November 1, 2011
Lately I’ve been increasing the size of my photos to 800 by 600. Be sure to click on the photo to see the larger view. My blog template can only handle 450 x 338 horizontal photos and 640 x 480 vertical photos. That doesn’t mean that a simple click won’t give you a much larger uploaded photo. It is especially important in photos like these two where you have several species in a group shot. If you get a photo that is 640 x 480 horizontal after clicking on the smaller view, it is because the photo wasn’t good enough in quality to make it 800 x 600. The smaller you make a photo the sharper it appears. I challenge you to identify all the birds in these two photos.

977
West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California – November 1, 2011
Here is a series of four photos of this beautiful bird. The contrast between the black body, bright red/orange bill and yellow/red eye is often hard to capture for some reason. These aren’t great photos, but they were fun to take. The birds in the foreground are Whimbrels. These birds were doing different things. Some were just resting, possibly in a middle of some migration. Maybe they’re here all year. Since I’m not here throughout the entire year, I just don’t know. It appears that I had a love affair this rotation with pelicans and oystercatchers. I had a lot more opportunities than usual, because I made it a habit of visiting Santa Cruz in the spring and rarely in summer. During those times I didn’t see hardly any oystercatchers and the pelicans were not around in abundance. I say rotation because, now that I’m retired, I’ll be in Santa Cruz in the fall and spring for months at a time. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/200 sec, tripod

These birds, when not napping, would find food in the pools of water on the rocks. The waves would sometimes come up so far over the rock that the birds would go airborne for a moment before feeding in the pools of water again. So, those who were napping tended to do it with one eye open sort of speak.

976
West Cliff Drive – Santa Cruz, CA – November 1, 2011
I don’t remember seeing this bird before, but Shawn says I have. If that’s true, this is not a lifer sighting for me. However, it is my first Surfbird photograph series. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500 mm, ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/640 sec, tripod

973
Moss Landing State Beach – California – October 14, 2011
Several postings back, I mentioned that I would look to see if I tried to digiscope any of these Avocets. I did. The earlier photos were at 500mm. Here are 4 digiscoped photos. Now, before I get going here, I want to mention that these birds were a very long distance away. I also want to say that it was a warm day, so heat waves distort long distance photos. Here is a technique I use in order to try to get photos like this to be half-way useable. I was using a Nikon P4 camera mounted on a Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x wide angle eyepiece, tripod – ISO 50, f/5.3, 1/160 sec. The zoom on the P4 was maxed out as well. The results of a photo at this distance and in these conditions will be very soft (blurry). The first thing I do is crop as large as I can and then reduce the size of the photo to 640 x 480 (landscape view reduced to 450 x 338 on blog – click to get a little larger). A photo this small will sharpen up quite a bit, but I still hit it with one or two sharpens in Photoshop. If I have to use two I’m going to get quite a bit of noise. I can leave the noise or I can use a plugin like Imagenomic to reduce noise. Sometimes I can sharpen the bird and then de-noise just the background. I use the lasso tool to select the bird and then inverse it so everything but the bird will be affected by the de-noising plugin.  If I have to de-noise the entire photo the bird will loose detail and look abnormally smooth. The first photo was hit by 1 sharpen and no de-noising. The second photo was sharpened twice and then the entire photo was de-noised.

968
Wilder Ranch State Park – Santa Cruz, California – October 22, 2011
These are either different Black Oystercatchers or the ones we saw previously flew to a different location.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, ISO 100, f/6.3, 1/160 sec, tripod

967
Wilder Ranch State Park – Santa Cruz, California – October 22, 2011
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, ISO 100, f/6.3, 1/160 sec, tripod

962
Moonglow Dairy/Elkhorn Slough – Moss Landing, California – October 14, 2011
There was this one fairly cooperative bird in the first pond. There were several more birds in the second pond, but they were very skiddish and wouldn’t come within camera range. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/800 sec, tripod

959
Moss Landing, California – October 14, 2011
I’m not a big fan of flock shots. It is really difficult to get a lot of birds in focus. I’m not that good of a photographer. However, I include two photos here that show you a typical Fall day at Moss Landing. There are a lot of birds! As usual, you can click on the photo to get a larger view. I did this one 800 x 600, so it is worth clicking on it. Most of the birds are Marbled Godwits and Willets.

958
Moss Landing, California – October 14, 2011
I know this is a terrible photo, but I include it just to remember I saw these three birds (one not shown). It wasn’t my first sighting of this species. I had another bad photo I took on the Salinas River a couple years ago. I enjoyed watching these two through my spotting scope. I haven’t checked my digiscoping stuff yet. Maybe I got a better photo. If so, I’ll post it later. My Tamron 200-500 zoom was maxed out at 500mm, and even then this is heavily cropped in Photoshop. Update: I just found another photo that may be better than the one above. I glanced at my digiscoped shots and because of the great distance and the heat waves, I doubt if any will be salvageable. We’ll see.

957
Moss Landing, California – October 14, 2011
These 4 photos are not very good. They are heavily cropped and very soft. However, if my ID is correct, this is a lifer sighting for me. I’ve spent quite a bit of time going through photos and websites to try to ID this bird. It was not in a flock of similar birds, so I only have photos of this one bird. At least I got a couple of angles. I’ll ask a few birder friends what they think. If I don’t change the title of this post, then you’ll know that I’m sticking with my original ID. Update:  Well, I guess this is a Black-bellied Plover.

956
Moss Landing, California – October 14, 2011
There have been no shortage of this species here at Moss Landing this Fall. Every trip out there I see a few.

942
Moss Landing, California – August 1, 2011
Sometimes I take a photo just for the purpose of trying to ID a bird. This particular bird was much too far away to hope for a good photo. I’d just like to know what it is. It has a slightly turned-down beak and yellow legs and a lot of belly white. This was the evidence I used in coming up with Least Sandpiper. Any thoughts?

941
Moss Landing, California – August 1, 2011
This is one of my favorite water birds. Can you imagine living with that long snoz? If I were a Long-billed Curlew I’d starve to death because I would be afraid I’d break my beak off while foraging for goodies.

937
17 Mile Drive – Monterrey, California – August 1, 2011
I’ve been looking for a good opportunity to photograph a Black Oystercatcher, and got a little excited when I saw a couple out on some rocks. The lens I was using didn’t have the reach I needed, so I climbed down the cliff and rock hopped as close as I could. These two photos are heavily cropped, but I was pleased that they came out as well as they did.

925
Moss Landing, California – March 31, 2011
After visiting Seacliff State Beach we drove out to Moss Landing – one of our favorite birding locations. This bird is the largest shorebird in North America. Some people call this the “candlestick” bird. Candlestick Point in San Francisco was named after this species. Like the Killdeer, this bird will pretend to be injured to lure a potential predator away from its nesting area. Nikon D80, Nikon 70-300 zoom at 300mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/320 sec, handheld

921
Seacliff State Beach – Aptos, California – March 31, 2011
I may have gotten a little carried away with this species on this occasion. Here are 5 photos that I hope you will enjoy. This photo was taken with my Nikon D80, Nikon 70-300 zoom at 300mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/400 sec., handheld

919
Seacliff State Beach – Aptos, California – March 31, 2011
I often see this species in this location. I’ve observed them in the spring and fall. I can’t remember if I’ve seen them in the summer. Marbled Godwits usually summer in the north central states and central Canada. Since they winter along the coast I assume they are around here three seasons of the year at least.  Something in the back of my mind is telling me I’ve seen them at Moss Landing during summer, but the back of my mind isn’t very reliable these days. My son-in-law would say the front isn’t working too well either. :-) I was using my Nikon D80 and Nikon 70-300 zoom at 300mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/400 sec., handheld

889
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – Washington State – December 30, 2010
Nisqually Wildlife Refuge is going through some major changes. They have knocked down the dikes that turned the land into farmland to allow the area to revert to more of a natural state. I guess this is good for the water fowl, but I miss seeing the Northern Harriers and other hawks that used to hunt for little critters in the fields. The trails have drastically changed. There is a new dike that goes out to an elevated wooden walkway that goes all the way to McAllister Creek. It is a looooong walk, even though the eyes fool you into looking like a short distance. I took these photos between Two Barns and where the elevated wooden walkway begins.

836
Vaughn Bay, Washington – December 21, 2008
I’m not used to seeing a Killdeer this time of year. We don’t get very much snow in Puget Sound, but this was an exception. This poor little bird sat in this spot on our sea wall all day. I don’t think he was a happy camper. BTW, this is the last 2008 photo from the LOST files and now I’ll get back to 2009.

829
Moss Landing, California – April 2, 2009
I guess this wasn’t a very good trip for water birds. I only have this one in my files.

801
Scarborough Marsh, Maine – July 22, 2008
Shawn posted this species (maybe even the same bird, though there were more than just one) back in July 08. Since I’m so tardy with my bird processing, I’m just getting around to putting my effort up on the blog. Don’t tell Shawn, but I think his photo is a bit better. To see his photo, just do a search for Least Sandpiper or Scarborough Marsh.

747
The Fill – near University of Washington – June 27, 2008
This was our first trip to The Fill. I had heard a lot about it from other birders so our good friend Doug who frequents the spot gave us the royal tour. The location is at the north end of Lake Washington and there is quite a variety of habitat. This Killdeer was found near a small pond that was beginning to dry up. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom, Manfrotto tripod

711
Vaughn Bay, Washington – May 8, 2008
I know you Californians don’t see this as a big deal, but this was a first for us here on Vaughn Bay. I’m sure you can see Whimbrels over on the coast during migration, but to see them in the sound is quite a treat. A couple birds arrived unexpectedly and stayed for several minutes. They were feeding right in front of our house. They didn’t stay long enough for me to pull out my digiscope, so this is the best I could do with my DSLR. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom

710
Puyallup, Washington – April 8, 2008
I call the baby Killdeer Little Peep. Notice in the first adult photo the bird is alarmed. Then, the second adult photo shows a parent feigning injury to try to draw me away from the baby.  Photos taken at my wife’s school. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom

695
Moss Landing, California – March 31, 2008
Timing and luck mean a lot to a bird photographer. Both have not been kind to me when it comes to this particular species. I am usually down in California the first week of April and the breeding BBPs do not arrive in mass until after I head back to Washington. These birds also prefer to keep their distance. Therefore, the only photos I’ve gotten have been rather poor. This is probably the best one I’ve taken to date.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED with 30x WA eyepiece

694
Moss Landing, California – March 31, 2008
I’ve already posted a few photos of this interesting bird. I was using my Nikon D80 for those photos. This one was taken with my digiscope setup.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED with 30x WA eyepiece

692
Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge – March 31, 2008
I find this bird to be very interesting as well as beautiful. The only place I’ve seen this species is along Highway 1 in California as I travel between Santa Cruz and Moss Landing. Unfortunately, there is no place to pull off the highway so you just get a fleeting glimpse. I was told I might find them along the Salinas River so I went a little further south to this spot and there they were. The birds were on the other side of the river, so I had to digiscope these photos at maximum range. They aren’t good shots, but they do show you what a pretty bird the avocet is.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm with 30x WA lens

687
Moss Landing, California – March 31, 2008
I usually see Marbled Godwits in this location. The first two photos are the same – the second being a closer crop. The third and fourth photos are also the same with the fourth photo being a closer crop of the third photo. Got that?
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 390mm, f6.0, 1/1000 sec, ISO 200, handheld

686
Moss Landing, California – March 31, 2008
I count myself lucky to have seen this unusual bird on this trip. I have seen one once before on the other side of the lagoon where I saw these birds. This is the first time I’ve seen more than one of this species in one location. How would you like to carry around a snozzola like this bird?
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, f6.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 200, Manfrotto tripod

583
Foulweather Bluff – Kitsap Peninsula – November 25, 2007
Here is a second set of these birds that came right up to me – very unusual for Sanderlings. They are usually very skiddish.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 400mm, 1/800 sec, ISO 400, f/6.0, fallen tree for stability

582
Foulweather Bluff – Hood Canal – November 25, 2007
My friend Bob volunteers to sit out at this place and answer any questions hikers may have. He invited me out to see the spot and it is truly a very nice location. These peeps were feeding on the beach. I hunkered down amidst a fallen tree across the beach and used the trunk of the tree for a camera platform. The peeps didn’t seem to realize I was there. I tried to remain as motionless as possible. They came within a few feet of me as if I weren’t there. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 490mm, 1/500 sec, ISO 400, f/6.3, tree for stability

541
Arcata Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary – Arcata, California – July 17, 2007
Willets, Dowitchers and Peeps were feeding in the mud along the banks of shallow tidal streams. Here are a few Willet photos.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, 1/60 sec, Manfrotto tripod

538
Moss Landing, California – July 14, 2007
Despite the foggy conditions I was able to get a few photos of this beautiful bird. I saw one here in this same spot during my spring visit. The 3rd photo is quite interesting. The bird is napping, and the shot shows how well the bird blends in with its surroundings.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

533
Moss Landing, California – July 14, 2007
My wife sent me over to the sea otters that congregate near the marina to take some photos. While over there I saw this solo Willet playing around on the shore. Don’t tell her, but I spent more time shooting the Willet than the otters ! This is a beautiful bird. The patterns on its wings when it flys is amazing. I posted a photo from last spring showing this.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500 mm, 1/200 sec, Manfrotto tripod

530
Cliff House – San Francisco – July 13, 2007
This was another lifer sighting for me. I’ve been looking for this species for quite some time. Unfortunately, the bird was a long distance away, so the photos did not come out very well. Regardless, I was very happy to photograph this bird. I have 6 photos but I’ll only post the best 3.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

491
Theler Wetlands – Belfair, Washington – May 28, 2007
This was a great find. Not only was it a lifer for me, but it is an uncommon occurance to view this bird. The male and its mate were traveling very fast and I didn’t have a chance to switch to the digiscope. At this distance, the photos on the DSLR didn’t come out very good, but they were good enough for an ID. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, 1/250 sec, Manfrotto tripod

427
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – Washington State – April 15, 2007
This is the same bird as p423. The photos in p423 were digiscoped. This photo was taken with my DSLR because the bird was close enough.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, 1/125 sec, Manfrotto tripod

423
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – April 15, 2007
My wife and I were resting on the bench at McAllister Creek when a couple of yellowlegs flew in to feed in the shallows of the creek. They proved to be quite a challenge to photograph. I tried to get close to them but they would run up the bank away from me. Good thing I was digiscoping.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

413
Moss Landing, California – April 5, 2007
These are the last Marbled Godwits from our California trip. Unfortunately, the bird’s bill on the second photo is out of focus. I really like the photo of the bird bowing its head. I think he is paying tribute to bird photographers everywhere!
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, 1/200 sec, Manfrotto tripod

408
Moss Landing, California – April 5, 2007
This is my last Willet shot for our spring trip to California. I think I prefer taking this bird’s photo on the beach.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30 x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

405
Moss Landing, California – April 5, 2007
I really wanted a good photo of this bird. A couple flew into the area where I was taking photos, but they were quite a ways from me. Not great photos this time, but I hope to have another chance to capture this beautiful bird in the not too distant future.
Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30 x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

402
Moss Landing, California – April 5, 2007
First off, this is a terrible photo, but I’m keeping it for documentation purposes. This was the first time I had seen this species. Across the road there is a plover nesting ground. April was early for the breeding to begin, but at least I got an opportunity to see a couple of these beautiful birds. They were so far away they were barely visible with the naked eye. Nikon P4, Nikon Fieldscope 82mm ED, 30x WA eyepiece, Manfrotto tripod

394
Moss Landing, California – April 4, 2007
This bird made a very brief appearance and I shot as many photos as I could. I had never seen this species before. Get a load of that bill. How would you like to have to lug that around all your life? Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 460mm, 1/320 sec, Manfrotto tripod

393
Sunset Beach – near Watsonville, California – April 4, 2007
I’m pretty sure these birds in flight are Sanderlings. I had them misnamed as Willets, but when I looked more closely I realized that they were Sanderlings. I guess that’s what happens when you take hundreds of photos everyday for a week.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 240 mm, 1/500 sec, handheld

392
Moss Landing, California – April 4, 2007
This bird doesn’t have the same markings as the other Willets I photographed. I made my ID on the basis that another photo in this series of 3 shows wing patterns. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 490mm, 1/200 sec, Manfrotto tripod

388
Moss Landing, California – April 4, 2007
This Willet was found in the same location as the Marbled Godwits shown in the previous post. This bird has a different coloring than the previous Willets I’ve posted. It looks more like a Willet showing its winter colors.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 400mm, 1/400 sec, Manfrotto tripod

387
Moss Landing, California – April 4, 2007
Just as you enter the park area there is water on either side of the road. These godwits were resting in the shallows.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 400mm, 1/400 sec, Manfrotto tripod

386
Sunset Beach – near Watsonville, California – April 4, 2007
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, 1/250 sec, Manfrotto tripod

385
Sunset Beach, California – near Watsonville – April 4, 2007
Sometime giving the bird a little bit of real estate gives you a better result than zooming in all the way and filling the frame.
Here is a series of 5 Whimbrel photos. There will be another series of 5 after this post. This is a very fun bird to watch.

Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 490mm, 1/400 sec, Manfrotto tripod

384
Sunset Beach State Park – near Watsonville, California – April 4, 2007
This godwit was found at Sunset Beach. I took a couple of flight shots. One is at a good angle, but a bit blurry. The other is crystal clear, but at a bad angle. Click to see the flight shots.

Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 390mm, 1/500 sec, Manfrotto tripod and handheld for the flight shots

382
Sunset Beach State Park – California (near Watsonville) – April 4, 2007
The larger shorebirds were hard enough to photograph, but these little buggers were really difficult. They are such fast runners that I had to treat them as if they were in flight. And, they are constantly moving and very skiddish.

Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 460mm, 1/320 sec, Manfrotto tripod or handheld

381
Sunset Beach State Park – California – April 4, 2007
Here are a couple more photos of Willets. Do they look any different than the ones at Seacliff? I think I have one to post from Moss Landing a little later. Oh well, it’s my website!
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 460mm, 1/400 sec, Manfrotto tripod

380
Sunset Beach State Park – near Watsonville, California – April 4, 2007
Sunset Beach is very similar to Seacliff. No sunken cement ship though. Here are some flight shots of the Willet. This bird is rather plain in color, but as you can see has a very pretty wing pattern.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 460 mm, 1/400 sec, Manfrotto tripod or handheld

377
Seacliff Beach State Park – Aptos/Rio del Mar, California – April 3, 2007
Here is another Godwit.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, 1/320 sec, Manfrotto tripod

376
Seacliff Beach State Park – Aptos/Rio del Mar, California – April 3, 2007
Here are some more godwit photos. One of them shows a bird catching a sand crab. Some birds seem to soften up their catch before swallowing their prey.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 440mm, 1/400 sec, Manfrotto tripod

375
Seacliff Beach State Park – Aptos/Rio del Mar, California – April 3, 2007
There were many of these birds on this beach. In fact, I saw more of these birds on the beaches than any other bird. I have a lot of photos.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 440mm, 1/400 sec, Manfrotto tripod

374
Seacliff Beach State Park – California – April 3, 2007
Here are some more shots of the Willets.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 440mm, 1/320 sec, Manfrotto tripod

373
Seacliff Beach State Park – California – April 3, 2007
Here on the beach of the famous sunken cement ship, we found quite a few birds. The predominant
species was the Marbled Godwit. Second, was this bird – the Willet. All of these birds were feeding on sand crabs. As the surf retreated, they hurried toward the water to find the crabs. I did the same thing as a kid on this beach.

Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 440mm, 1/500 sec, Manfrotto tripod

372
Seacliff Beach State Park – near Aptos and Rio del Mar, California – April 3, 2007
The majority of birds on the beach were Marbled Godwits and Willets. A few Whimbrels were scattered among the masses.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 410mm, 1/640 sec, Manfrotto tripod

354
Natural Bridges State Park – Santa Cruz, California – April 2, 2007
This was another lifer bird for me this trip. Like the Willet, I saw quite a few of them during my stay in Santa Cruz.
Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, 1/320 sec, Manfrotto tripod

353
Natural Bridges State Park – Santa Cruz, California – April 2, 2007
Being a new birder I get to see a lot of first-time sightings – lifers. This was a first for me, and I saw a lot of this species during my trip to Santa Cruz. Nikon D80, Tamron 200-500 zoom at 500mm, 1/320 sec, Manfrotto tripod

100
Theler Wetlands, Belfair Washington – October 21, 2006
The Long Billed Dowitcher is a rather common sighting at Theler Wetlands. It is hard to get their photo because they are constantly sticking their beak in the mud looking for food.

098
Theler Wetlands – Belfair, Washington – October 21, 2006
Killdeer can often be found here at Theler, especially when there is a low tide.

095
Theler Wetlands, Belfair Washington – October 21, 2006
Dowitchers have been regular residents this Fall at Theler Wetlands. If you go during low tide you have a better chance of spotting some.

090
Theler Wetlands, Belfair Washington – October 21, 2006
In the couple of months I have been visiting Theler Wetlands, the Killdeer has been a regular sighting. Your chances of seeing one is higher during a low tide.

075
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – October 13, 2006
Side and frontal views

065
Fort Flagler State Park – Marrowstone Island, Washington – October 7, 2006
As you can see here, the Sanderlings were feeding alongside Black Turnstones. The location was near the end of the spit next to the beach camping area.

064
Fort Flagler State Park – Marrowstone Island, Washington – October 7, 2006
This is one of several wading birds that I found feeding at the shoreline of a sand spit. The Black Turnstones were feeding alongside several Sanderlings.

058
Theler Wetlands, Belfair Washington – September 30, 2006
A few of these waders were feeding in swallow water. They stayed in water up to their bodies, so I don’t have a photo of their legs. This bird likes to probe mud for organisms and plant material. Their constant probing reminds one of a sewing machine needle.

046
Theler Wetlands, Belfair Washington – September 30, 2006
The identification of this bird is totally a shot in the dark. I’m pretty sure it is a Dowitcher, but it is very difficult for the novice, like me, to tell the difference between the Long Billed and Short Billed Dowitcher. This bird reminds me of a sewing machine. As it was feeding it used its beak in a sewing machine needle type action – prodding the mud for invertebrates or insects.

037
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – September 23, 2006
This is the last web entry of a Killdeer for the day. I was fortunate to get several good photos and I had a hard time picking the best ones.
This is a frontal view.

036
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – September 23, 2006
Here is another photo of these cute little Killdeer.

035
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – September 23, 2006
A couple of Killdeer were feeding just off the McAllister Creek trail. They were pretty cooperative and I got several good photos of them.

034
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – September 23, 2006
A common, tall, long-legged shorebird of freshwater ponds and tidal marshes. A similar bird, the Lesser Yellowlegs, is smaller in size with a shorter beak, but it is difficult to tell them apart unless they are standing next to each other. It appears this bird has less legs than most birds, so maybe it really is a Lesser Yellowlegs. That’s a joke in case you missed it! View the next photo to see a zoomed out image.

029
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – September 23, 2006
These birds were feeding off the trail that runs along McAllister Creek. On one side is the creek and the other is marsh or farmland. It appears I got their attention as they seem to be looking right at me.