Shorebirds – The Plovers

It is easy to look over a flock of birds and dismiss them as all being the same species. But upon closer examination, you might be surprised at what is hidden amongst them. While photographing the Sanderlings a week ago, I also found two species of plovers, also shorebirds, that had joined the flock.

Semipalmated Plovers are a short-necked bird that are scattered across the USA and Canada. The Cornell Lab suggests that this species may be one of the few that is actually increasing in number. They are one of the more commonly seen small plovers. But they can also easily blend in with the color of the sand on the beaches.

Semipalmated Plover walking on Drakes Beach in the shallow water left by an outgoing wave. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @560 mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/2000. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved.

Another plover hanging out with the Sanderlings at Drakes Beach was a single Black-bellied Plover. Don’t let the name fool you. This is a juvenile bird. Likely, you will not recognize this same bird next Spring when it is in its breeding plumage. Then, you will understand where the name comes from.

A juvenile Black-bellied Plover searches the beach for a meal. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @560 mm, ISO 800, f/9, 1/1000. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved.

Killdeer are classified as a plover and are considered a shorebird. If you are used to seeing these birds in cattle feedlots, over-grazed pastures, gravel roads, and even lawns, it may be hard to understand why they are considered shorebirds. While they do frequent coastal habitats, they are also quite common where there is short vegetation. They can be found across the contiguous United States.

This Killdeer is landing in the shallow waters of a livestock watering pond near Historic L Ranch. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @560 mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/2500. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved.

Migration season is a great time to be outdoors, seeing all of the gems that are moving through the area.

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