What I Learned at the Beach

I learned several things on Monday’s trip to the beach. First, I discovered some great places to find birds that I’ll return to again and again. Second, I discovered some great places to find birds that I’ll probably never return to again.

Unfortunately, my best shots came at the two places I’ll probably never go back to. I love these shots of a Short-Billed Dowitcher, probably only the second one I’ve ever seen

Short-Billed Dowitcher

and these shots of a Long-Billed Dowitcher (on the right) hanging out with several Short-Billed Dowitchers.

Long-Billed Dowitcher

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy lining up at Tokeland waiting to get these shots, even though I enjoyed talking to other birders and photographers about equipment.

My favorite shots of the day were taken in Westport. In fact, I had a very hard time deciding which shot of the Brown Pelican I should use because I had so many I liked.

Brown Pelican

My favorite shots of the day were of this Pigeon Guillemot as it took off, first running on the water, and finally flying right by us.

Pigeon Guillemot

Photographically, this was certainly one of the best birding days ever, seeing several birds for the first time ever and getting some of my best shots ever.

But if I ever do it again, I’ll probably skip the two best areas to see birds, and I’ll spend my time wandering the beach hoping to get a great shot of a bird I have, or haven't, seen before. What I really learned, again, is that it’s not the birds I see and it’s not the photographs that I take that are important to me.

It’s the experience of being one with nature that’s important. If I can’t get that experience while getting shots of birds I haven’t seen, then I guess I won’t be getting shots of birds I’ve never seen before.

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