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A Woman, A Plan, A Sanderling

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A coldish day on the beach at Tybee Island, Georgia. We're on a Georgia Ornithological Society field trip to the Tybee Lighthouse jetty, where we've heard there may be purple sandpipers. 

But there's a bird I need to speak with first. A sanderling in winter plumage is dancing over the algae-coated rocks, against a backdrop of Atlantic. And I cannot tear myself away.

This is the beauty of bird photography. A bird close by, in perfect light, is a banquet of delights for a photographer. It doesn't matter what the bird is, though a sanderling is certainly a lovely bird.

My universe suddenly contracts down like a lens onto that bird, those colors, this moment.

And I become one with him, looking for his changing mood, his next move.

He could be a giant Rok on a tree-grown mountainside, stomping the forest with elephantine feet.

Or a very small sandpiper against a very large ocean, 

where container ships the length of three New York City blocks thrum by, loaded with cars and appliances and who knows what all.

Or he could be a winter sanderling, skittering by us at arm's length. Gotta love a bird who will do that.

 The rare ones will wait. This one's putting on a show.


I like how you framed these shots-they tell your story. Is the man really as close to the bird as it looks? I didn't think sanderlings would allow such a close approach.

My friend, her dog, and I walk on the beach in Galveston most mornings. Zootie loves sanderlings and pigeons best because they let her stalk really close to them before they fly. She ignores the gulls but occasionally tries for a willet.

I loved the story you told with your pictures.

Julie, yes, the sanderling was snatchable, although telephoto lenses do lie a little bit. He often came within a yard of me as I shot.

Really this is beautiful photgraphy. You are a great photographer. You took every steps of this bird. Really you done a hard job.

Lovely! I can happily spend hours on the beach watching the sanderlings. It's a tough job...

Now if you could do the same thing sometime with a Snow Bunting I'd be much-obliged (I love those li'l guys).

I am so jealous. Tybee Island is one of my favorite places. Say hi to all the beauty for me! Your pictures are really gorgeous.

Posted by Anonymous February 8, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Sanibel sanderlings, my favorite of favorites on a beach.

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