Walking on the beach or just along a secluded waterway, one thing that you will always find are shorebirds. These unique species rely on the water for their every need. Whether it be feeding, raising their young or mating, shorebirds offer a great photographic opportunity.
This juvenile sanderling paused long enough to allow me to get a shot or two while hopping from rock to rock. The sanderling is a small wading bird. The Sanderling’s black legs blur as it runs back and forth on the beach, picking or probing for tiny prey in the wet sand left by receding waves. Sanderlings are medium-sized “peep” sandpipers recognizable by their pale nonbreeding plumage, black legs and bill, and obsessive wave-chasing habits which is a hoot to watch.
Sanderlings are easy to find on sandy beaches from fall through spring. Pick a beach with a low, gradual slope and walk along the water’s edge. Look for small shorebirds running back and forth in sync with the waves—these are likely to be Sanderlings. While other shorebirds such as plovers and Willets may feed alongside Sanderlings on these outer beaches, this is truly the Sanderling’s domain; these plucky birds often aggressively defend their feeding territories at water’s edge from other shorebirds. From a photographic standpoint I cannot think of a better way to have fun with shorebirds.
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