Thursday 1 October 2015

A few Common Shorebird Photos

Birding during the autumn on the Avalon is basically vagrant hunting 100% of the time. The frequent thrills make it a rewarding activity but other parts of birding suffer. For me photography of nice common birds goes down the drain during fall migration.  Last weekend was extraordinarily cold and it seemed liked the supply of southern vagrants hanging around had vanished and there was no hope of new ones arriving.  This allowed me to do things a little different in that I could enjoy the common birds more and some photography even.  The cold north winds meant that south facing St. Shotts beach would be free of the camera eating air-borne salt spray that is so prevalent here on most visits. I had seen plenty of shorebird here in Saturday. The camera finger was itching but there was no time for photography. Sunday (27 September) was different. I made the time. St Shotts beach for photography was my objective of the day.  As per usual a sure-thing planned photo session is always flawed in some way. This time it was the very dark overcast sky and the frequent passes of raptors kept the birds away much of the time. But overall it was a very rewarding 3.5 hours standing on the beach behind my camera, 840 mm lens and tripod.  The birds eventually ignored me and near full frame shots were the everywhere I pointed the camera.  We are talking only a few species here, mainly Dunlin, White-rumped Sandpipers and the ubiquitous Semipalmated Plover.  I have not figured out how to convey the beautiful full frame shots off the camera to a reduced image size suitable for posting on this Blog. So much of the finer beauty is lost in the downsizing.    

The juvenile Dunlin are in the process moulting into winter plumage. Right now they come in varied individual patterns mixing bright oranges and blacks with the incoming muddy gray feathers for winter.


Newfoundland is at a lull in the migration of White-rumped Sandpipers. The peak of adults (above) has passed and the juveniles (below) are just starting to appear. There are always a few adults among the main wave of juvenile in October and November but this bird above showed far more breeding plumage on 27 Sept than most adults even in early August.  


The Semipalmated Plover is a very common shorebird during fall migration in Newfoundland. It is everywhere. Absolutely no adults left by now just endless juveniles, all tame, docile and birder friendly.  I added a couple dozen more portraits to my photo collection of this species for potential use down the road when needed to support the ID a juv Common Ringed Plover .

There are 4 Dunlin, 2 White-rumped Sandpipers and 1 Semipalmated Plover in this shot. You can see them all?

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