Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday: Whimbrel

Although beach fog and overcast are not ideal for taking pictures, there's just something so iconic about a foggy California beach morning.  Whenever I see that certain background to a photo...I can immediately see and feel exactly what the conditions were like.  One foggy morning, I was taking photos of gulls and turnstones at Main Beach (or as the rest of the world calls it Laguna Beach) when I spotted this foursome of odd-looking birds running around.  Long, down-curved bills...but not as long as those of a Curlew.  This turned out to be my first encounter with Whimbrels.

Here are two of the four...showing those distinctive beaks.

We'd had a lot of heavy surf earlier in the week, and in this shot's background you can see some of our California kelp forest that has been pulled loose and washed up on shore.

All of that debris makes a great attraction for bugs for the Whimbrels to eat.

One of this bird's other distinctive field marks (as if that beak wasn't enough) is that center stripe on the crown of its head.

I had a hard time actually getting just one bird in the frame - they all bunched quite closely together most of the time.  I thought this behavior was interesting as I'm used to seeing larger shore birds like Curlews and Willets have a little more space between themselves and other birds.

This one of the four was a bit braver than the others about the water so when he ventured a little closer to it, I was able to get a few shots of him alone.

This one shows that crown stripe pretty well, too.

And then his buddies came to test out the water, too, to see what all the fuss was about. 

Unfortunately, a few minutes after this, some people let their dog off leash and sent it barreling down the beach and that was the end of bird photography for that morning.  So, I headed off to grab breakfast.  Saw these birds at this same beach one more time a couple of weeks after this and have not seen them since.



Margaret Adamson said...

Very impressive shohts of the Whimbrels

Mary Cromer said...

They must be such fun to observe, they are from my vantage point~

Findlay Wilde said...

I really like it when we get some of the same birds in both our countries. We get Whimbrel and Curlew as well. Great pictures.

Chris Rohrer said...

These birds are so awesome. I always enjoy spotting them walking along the beach. Nice photos!

Frank Boxell said...

A super set of images showing their distinctive markings. Well done.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I have never seen this before...beautiful birds!!

Marie C said...

They are beautiful! Nice shots!

Nora said...

Great shots! Nice and close up. We get these birds here sometimes, they seem to like our golf club.

Creative Haven said...

Very cool! You've got me into birding - I got a bunch of feeders for the back patio and I've been scanning the trees :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Wonderful whimbrels ... I love your beach pictures. Bummer about the dogs .. People can be so thoughtless.

Stewart M said...

What a great bird - I have never managed to get close enough to get any decent pictures. Well done!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne