And on to Bottle Beach

Although I was elated to see the Wilson’s Phalarope in the morning, I rushed to get out of there because I wasn’t going to miss the chance to bird Bottle Beach under perfect conditions. As usual, I was way too early, there long before anyone else showed up, which was fine with me because I enjoy the beauty and quiet.

I was also very happy when birds began to show up. First came the Black-bellied Plovers, way out before the tide had come half way in.

Black-Bellied Plover

I started snapping shots early one when they were a quarter mile away, afraid that like last year they would never come very close. I was hoping my 500mm lens with a doubler would give me some decent shots. I ended up deleting all those early shots because they ended up coming quite close, particularly before other photographers joined me.

I also got even better shots of the Ruddy Turnstones

Ruddy Turnstone

that I’d seen for the first time ever the week before.

And the beach was full of Red Knots,

Red Knot

one of the prettiest shorebirds.

But, as before, the real highlight of the shoot wasn’t a particular bird, no matter how pretty it might be; no the real highlight is being surrounded by thousands of birds, mostly hard-to-identify “peeps,”

Peeps

who pay absolutely no attention to you unless you do something foolish to frighten them.

Although you begin the shoot pointing your lens toward the bay, by the end of the shoot it doesn’t matter which way you point it — there are birds everywhere. It’s a feeling I seldom experience, but am always enraptured when I do.

What do you think?