Last Sunday I only had a few hours in the morning before I had to go pickup my nephew at the airport. As always I checked the weather the night before and it was calling for sun, calm winds and the tides were going to be low at 8:00am. So I decided to take advantage of the calm winds and head to a local pond/outflow area to photograph some Greater Yellowlegs. Of all the shorebirds that visit the island these are the first ones we see before the big push of migrants usually around Mid to late August.
Upon my arrival at the pond I was happy to see 4 Greater Yellowlegs running around the back part of the pond searching for fish. I slowly made my way over to the opposite side placing the sun at my back. Greater Yellowlegs for the most part are fairly tame so getting into the right position didn't take much time nor did I have to worry much about my movements scaring them off.
Yellowlegs are active birds continuously looking for food like most shorebirds do. I was hoping to capture a frame or two of one in mid stride which I did in the image below.
With such calm waters I want to focus my attention on capturing the reflection in the frame as well. It was a little more challenging then I thought as the water levels were really low revealing a lot of unwanted elements like in the image above.
There was an area that was nice and clean so anytime one would come in that spot my attention would shift there and capture some nice reflections.
I got lucky as the above individual grabbed a fish about two frames later allowing for this shot
Yellowlegs are pretty successful fisherman so if you are patient enough you will be provided with opportunities to capture this interaction.
Here one of the individuals moved in close to me and began fishing. He caught at least 5 fish before moving on to another spot. Make sure that if you want to capture this interaction you have enough shutter speed to do so. For the above shot I was at 1/1250s and there was still a slight blur in the head from the head shake.
Fishing is not always easy and sometimes you just get all tangled up
After all that hard work and a full belly it was time for a stretch and then a much needed rest.
It was nice to get myself into the swing of shorebird photography. It certainly isn't the cleanest activity as to achieve those really nice images you need to get down into the water and mud with these guys. Trust me I always hate the idea of it myself but once you're in there and the action starts you won't think twice about it.
One thing I recommend if you are interested in shorebird photography and plan to be down at their level is to purchase yourself a nice pair of comfortable elbow and even knee pads. I've often found myself army crawling along a beach or shoreline and without the pads trust me you won't be doing it long.
Keep shooting and enjoy those special moments.
I plan to head to Elliston, NL this weekend for some Puffin and Black Guillemot action so hopefully I will return with something to share.. :)