Monday, January 05, 2009

Bird Photography Weekly

I ventured out today, in the freezing cold of the morning, to see what birds might be at the little local lake. I've seen good birds there in the past, so I was looking forward to what might be around.

As I walked the edge of the lake, most of it was frozen on one end, and all I saw were Mallards. I thought, "Well, Mallards are birds, after all".

But as I continued around the lake, I found what I was hoping for. Gazillions of birds out on the open water. My first look through my bins showed me a couple of Northern Pintail. Sweet. Not sure I've seen them before. At any rate, they weren't on my life list, so I was pretty excited about that, 'cause now they are.

Next in sight were more Mallards, a bunch of Gulls, and loads of Canada Geese. As I continued around the snowy pathway, fingers freezing, a stiff wind in my face, I wondered if the journey to the south end of the lake would be worth it. Then I heard a "peep" which I thought sounded like a Killdeer. I like Killdeer, and I hadn't seen one yet this new year, so I kept going. Plus I thought I saw more Pintails, or maybe Northern Shovelers out there as well.

It turns out there were loads of No. Shovelers, a few Gadwall, some Green-winged Teal, and these two lovelies: A Greater Yellowlegs, and a Least Sandpiper - no Killdeer (click the images to enlarge).

Greater Yellowlegs in back, Least Sandpiper in front.

I was pretty excited to see these two and identify them correctly. I wasn't sure of my ID, because shorebirds are not my strong suit. But others from the local listserve confirmed them for me. And I was able to add two more birds to my life list as definite IDs.

The name "Least Sandpiper" certainly fits for that little bird. It looks absolutely minuscule next to the Yellowlegs. I actually didn't see it at first, and was just focusing my pictures on the Yellowlegs until the Sandpiper moved more directly into my field of view.

Hope it's okay to include two birds to this week's Bird Photography Weekly.

Birds are cool. And you can see many more and read other's stories about them by clicking on the link below.


Red said...

How fun that you got both lifers in one shot too! Great reward for going out so early in the cold :)

Mary C said...

Such a contrast in size between those two. That is great that you could capture both in the same photo. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my GBH.

Natural Moments said...

I know, I like the least sandpipers too since they are absolutely so small, and so fun and cute to watch move around in their environment.

mick said...

Very nice photos and I am intrigued that some shorebirds winter where it is so cold. Is this usual? We have literally thousands that are spending the summer with us in Australia - not the ones you saw - but species that breed up in Alaska, and across Siberia and northern Asia.

animtreebird said...

Very beautiful birds. Nice photo. :)))

behindthebins said...

I didn't know that Sandpipers wintered by you. I saw loads of them in South America last year. Love of the shot of the Least next to the Greater, BTW.