American Avocets and Dunlins

Continuing my bird sightings along the wildlife drive at Bombay Hook NWR end of last year, I drove up on two large migrating flocks of shorebirds.  Both lifers!

(photos taken from my car)

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Flock of American Avocets in front of the Dunlins (eight Northern Shovelers in the foreground)


I have seen American Avocets before but never got a chance to photograph them.

_DSC0074-1 112017Gulls (foreground) napping with American Avocets

American Avocets have long, upturned bills that they sweep through the shallow water to catch small invertebrates.  They also have blue legs.  Love those blue legs.

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American Avocets are in the same family as Stilts.

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Not sure why, but the Avocets took flight.  I didn’t see anything menacing in the sky.  Even the Dunlins had stayed put.

_DSC0116-1 112017American Avocets in flight

_DSC0125-1 112017(photo-bombed by a gull….)


_DSC0142-1 112017(Looks like they’re on a mission….)

The American Avocet’s wingspan is an impressive 28″ (71 cm).

This next photo was taken along a canal at the refuge where I was standing and photographing another bird.  I was very happy to have gotten this opportunity and capture as they quickly flew by!

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While photographing the Avocets, I was also working on the Dunlins.

The Dunlin is a medium-sized sandpiper.  There were thousands of them resting and foraging in the shallow waters.

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Luckily, a few Dunlins were foraging at the water’s edge early-on for me to get some close-ups.

_DSC0099-1 112017(Size comparison of the American Avocet to the Dunlin)


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I moved on but looped the wildlife drive again.  The Avocets were still gone but the Dunlins were there.  Just watching and enjoying the scenery and telling myself I needed to get to my errands(!), the Dunlins quickly took flight and I snapped a few shots.  Again, I didn’t see anything menacing in the sky.

DSC_7577-1 112017Dunlins in flight

Dunlins have a wingspan of 13-14″ (32-36 cm).

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Both of these birds are gorgeous in breeding plumage (American Avocets breed in the U.S. mid-west; Dunlins breed along the northern coastlines of Alaska and Canada) which I would love to see and photograph; but for now adding them to my lifer list, I’ll take their winter-look here during their visit!


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