Tim Boyer Photography

Small Groups, Cool Birds, Fun Locations

Western Sandpiper

Bird PhotographyTim Boyer
Western Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper

This is one of my favorite images from last year. It was taken in early May, 2010 at Bottle Beach State Park on the Washington Coast.

About Western Sandpipers:

The majority of Western Sandpipers migrate up the Pacific Coast concentrating on the Copper River Delta, Alaska in mid-May.  They then move northward and breed in the tundra of Alaska and Siberia. The estimated world population is 3.5 to 4 million, a huge decline from 1973 when 6.5 million Westerns were counted at the Copper River Delta.  The northward migration is concentrated in a few short weeks on the Washington Coast from early April to mid-May. This contrast to the long protracted fall migration which lasts from late June to mid-September, with females departing the Arctic first, then the males, then finally juveniles in large numbers in mid-August to mid-September.  While Western Sandpipers are one of the smaller species of sandpipers, they still manage to migrate 4,500 to 7,000 miles a year.

Photography:

Early morning light, getting very low (to get eye level with the sandpiper) makes this an interesting image.  The drop of water hanging in mid-air adds a magical factor to the image.   The technical data: Canon EOS 7D, 600mm lens with a 1.4 extender, ISO 200, F5.6 at 1/1250 of a second. Lots of light and a fast shutter speed allow me to capture the water droplet in mid-air.