March 3, 2014

Semipalmated Sandpiper


In Canada two summers ago, I visited a very windy beach full of shorebirds. There were several semipalmated sandpipers hunkered down against the wind, and as I always do, I got low to the ground and started slowly creeping towards one of them. He did the usual sandpiper dash away from me a few times, but I persistently moved closer. Eventually, I was on my hands and knees, almost supine, about seven feet away, and still he just looked at me. Perhaps he didn't flush because of the strong wind, but I like to think that I have a way with animals. Worming along, now completely on my stomach, I managed to get within three feet of the sandpiper, snapping this amazing shot. The on-the-ground perspective, putting you at eye-level with the bird, plus the incredibly shallow depth of field makes for quite a powerful photo. He never moved, and after taking this photo I slowly backed away without scaring him. But I had been taking photos for so long that the tide had almost trapped me!