Bottle Beach

Since this weekend was the Aberdeen Shorebird Festival, Friday I drove up to Bottle Beach with Ruth Sullivan to photograph shore birds. Ruth thought that that the number of birds was a “rather poor showing,” but for a novice like me there seemed to be an amazing array of birds.

Shore Birds in Flight

I’ll have to admit that I’m even worse at identifying shorebirds than I am ducks and songbirds, so you’ll have to take these identifications, made with two guidebooks at hand as I look at photographs with a grain-of-salt. Identification would be much easier if the silly birds would stick together, but as we sat on shore with cameras mixed flocks worked their way up the beach on both sides of us. Though I generally find it easier to identify from photographs, that’s not always true with shorebirds because size is an important way of differentiating between species and it’s difficult to judge relative size from a full frame photograph.

That said, I’m guessing this is a Least Sandpiper,

Least Sandpiper

this a Western Sandpiper.

Western Sandpiper

I’m almost positive the bird in the front with the black and white chest is a Dunlin in breeding colors,

Dunlin in Breeding Colors

and I am positive this is a Short-Billed Dowitcher, since one of the experienced birders was talking about it at length.

Short-Billed Dowitcher

Naturally I was unable to get a good shot of the birds that most intrigued me, these Black-Bellied Plovers that, unlike the other shore birds, kept their distance from the many birders at the beach.

Black-Bellied Plover

It’s the only time the whole day I envied all the other photographers who toted 500mm and 600mm Canon lenses.

As far as I’m concerned any sunny day at the beach is a great day, and the spotting of several new species was just icing on the cake.