Tim Boyer Photography

Small Groups, Cool Birds in Fun Places, Create Award-winning Images!

Washington Coast

Lesser Sand Plover

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment

These images were taken yesterday on August 16th at Ocean Shores, WA. On the outer coast near the Quinault Casino.  This was a field trip sponsored by the Seattle Audubon, and there were nine of us on the trip.  Later the bird was seen by two other birders see -- eBird for those details. We accessed the beach from the entrance point by the Best Western Hotel and drove north.  We saw the usual Western Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers and Sanderlings but it was low tide the birds were scattered and not bunched up so we had low numbers and small groupings of birds.  After driving as far as we legally could we turned around and were headed south back to the Best Western beach access point thinking about the North Jetty as the next stop.  I don't know why I stopped the car to look at this small group of shorebirds, but the day before on the shorebird field trip for the Fall Shorebird Class I taught for Eastside Audubon we found a Ruddy Turnstone on the beach with a few Western Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers.  What happened next though must have looked like pandemonium on the beach as I jumped out of my car and ran back to Blair's car to ask him to get the scope out, he was already out of his car grabing his camera.  We both had left our car doors open and cars running as we very quickly realized what we were seeing.  I bet the field trip participants wondered what the heck they'd gotten themselves into as both drivers had jumped out of their cars.  Blair and I both called out Lesser Sand Plover, although I think the first thing I said was the old name Mongolian Plover.  After awhile we settled down and got the other field trip participants on the bird, but still in shock/surprise that we'd located a bird that hadn't been seen in Washington since 2013, we made sure everyone got good looks, four of five of us had cameras and got pictures, and I'm not sure I stopped smiling and saying WOW, for a couple of hours.  Yep, 24 hours later, WOW!

Lesser Sadn Plover found on the outer coast of Ocean Shores near teh  Quinault Casino on Aug. 16th, 2015.
Lesser Sadn Plover found on the outer coast of Ocean Shores near teh Quinault Casino on Aug. 16th, 2015.
Lesser Sand Plover-8128
Lesser Sand Plover-8128
Lesser Sand Plover-8188
Lesser Sand Plover-8188
Lesser Sand Plover feeding on a marine worm.
Lesser Sand Plover feeding on a marine worm.
Lesser Sand Plover with Semipalmated Plovers and Western Sandpiper
Lesser Sand Plover with Semipalmated Plovers and Western Sandpiper
Size comparison Lesser Sand Plover with Western Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers.
Size comparison Lesser Sand Plover with Western Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers.

Later in the day on the Oyhut Game Range we located what we first thought to be 17 Pacific Golden Plovers, but when they were flushed by a peregrine there were 22 or 23. I had counted 8 the day before with the Eastside Audubon Class. But, 20+ Pacific Golden Plovers was a high number for all of us.

There was also a pair of peregrine on the Game Range, and we watch one Peregrine Falcon snack on a shorebird.  It had landed pretty close to use and we had great views with our bins.  We couldn't make out the band number but it had a right leg red band and a left leg green band.  It was pretty windy by then and even with scope views there was too much vibration to read the band number.

We watched the peregrine that had been snacking take off and fly about two feet off the ground and spit a group of flushed shorebirds.  Then the other peregrine from higher up dove on one of the groups.  It caught one of the small shorebirds and flew directly over head.  On any normal fieldtrip that would have been the highlight, watching a peregrine hunt then do a fly over at 20 feet. But on a day with a Lesser Sand Plover and  20+ Pacific Golden Plovers, it was exciting, but definitely not the highlight!

These images were taken around 11:45  AM in mid-day light with the Canon 7D Mark II and a 100-400 mm lens with a 1.4 Extender so the  effective focal lenght was 896 mm.  I had to do a lot of cropping on each image, we were not that close to the bird, and none of us wanted to flush it.

Enjoy      Get outside and Thanks!         Tim

Bird Quest 2014 #20

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment
Ruff watching cars and people walk by.
Ruff watching cars and people walk by.

Today on the outer coast of Ocean Shores I spotted a Ruff in a mixed flock of Black-bellied Plovers, Short-billed Dowitchers, Sanderling, Western Sandpipers, and Semipalmated Plovers.  This is only the  third time I've seen a Ruff, and the only time I've seen one on the outer coast, out in the open.  Typically they're found near ponds or marsh habitat.

Ruff moving out of the traffic lane.
Ruff moving out of the traffic lane.
Ruff
Ruff

Enjoy!

Thanks

Tim

Bird Quest 2014 #7

Bird PhotographyTim Boyer1 Comment
Sub Adult Bald eagle and seal carcass.
Sub Adult Bald eagle and seal carcass.

Out on the Washington Coast last weekend there were flocks of Dunlin and  Sanderlings as well as a few birds of prey.  On Friday when it was sunny we watched a group of sub-adult Bald Eagles take turns feeding on a seal carcass.

On Saturday morning from sunrise until about 9:00 AM there weren't too many clouds threatening to rain on us.  We drove the beaches looking for more eagles and hopefully a peregrine.  I  spotted this Merlin, the first one I've seen and photographed on the coast since March 2010.  It was exciting to be able to watch it for awhile.  They are so in-tune with their environment, constantly scanning the sky around them.  When I was watching it, I was glad not to be a small bird.

Merlin perched on driftwood, watching for the next meal to flyby.
Merlin perched on driftwood, watching for the next meal to flyby.

Continuing norhtward we finally found a Peregrine Falcon.  This is a first year female, and has the band "Z2" on it. The peregrine was banded by Coastal Raptors a research, education and conservation non-profit banding birds on the Washignton Coast.

Peregrine Falcon watching the Dunlin as well as humans on the Washington Coast.
Peregrine Falcon watching the Dunlin as well as humans on the Washington Coast.

It was a fun weekend on the coast, and I was happy to  see peregrines and  Merlins again!

Enjoy!

Good birding!

Tim

Birding/Photo Project 2013

Bird PhotographyTim BoyerComment

Peregrines eat carrion and cough up pellets! Until this weekend I thought of Peregrines as these fast, powerful and deadly hunters of the sky.  Well they are all that and more. Monday I watched as a peregrine banded WZ cough up two pellets, and Tuesday and Wednesday I watch peregrine K6 feed on the remains of a washed up Great Blue Heron.  

Peregrine Falcon banded K6 feeding on a Great Blue Heron carcass.  K6 filled up his crop twice on Tuesday.
Peregrine Falcon banded K6 feeding on a Great Blue Heron carcass. K6 filled up his crop twice on Tuesday.

In this image you can actually see the bulging crop of K6, while it stands on the Great Blue Heron remains.

Peregrine Falcon K6 shaking off the rain and the Great Blue Heron it was feeding on.
Peregrine Falcon K6 shaking off the rain and the Great Blue Heron it was feeding on.

The falcons I photographed were banded, and are part of the research of  Coastal Raptors a non-profit group doing research, education and  conservation on Washington State's coastal raptor population.  The organization is run by Dan Varland, and  their website is:  http://www.coastalraptors.org.  

Peregrine Falcon banded WZ in the process of a wing stretch.
Peregrine Falcon banded WZ in the process of a wing stretch.

Another view of WZ, which is also the peregrine featured in the Coastal Raptors logo.

Peregrine Falcon WZ alert to any movement in our car as we watched and photographed it.
Peregrine Falcon WZ alert to any movement in our car as we watched and photographed it.
Adult Bald Eagle flying up the beach.
Adult Bald Eagle flying up the beach.
Northern Shoveler at The Old Fishing Hole Park, Kent WA.
Northern Shoveler at The Old Fishing Hole Park, Kent WA.

Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle and  Norther Shoveler brings my total photographed bird species to 79 so far this year.  While my goal of 500 is starting to seem a little overly ambitious, in reality I'm reaching my goal of learning more about birds and getting out more to photograph them.