Magic Hour...

Part 2...

By now the tide was completely down and the mussel bed fully exposed. I scanned the surrounding area looking for what I felt would be the best possible spot to capture more images. I noticed to the left of me was a narrow stripe of sand that ran along the end of the mussel bed. It seemed a number of shorebirds were using this area to travel back and forth.

So I slowly belly crawled into position. I left enough room to my left for the birds to continue their travels and pass by me unaffected by my presence. One of the main subjects in this area were the Semipalamated Plovers. One individual in particular seemed to role a small section of water. If any other plover entered into the area he would chase them away. 

He provided me with some amazing photo ops.

Occasionally coming close enough for some portrait shots.

He would often leave the water hole and head to the strip of sand in search for food. This strip of sand turned out to be a magical area for me for the next hour. I'm still not sure what created the stunning colors in the background in the following image but I love it.

Here is another shot from the same area and this time a female or Juv?

This female/juv seemed to have much better luck in the food department then the above male. She was very successful in finding worms

Through out the morning there were continuous battles between individuals over feeding grounds and would often turn into this circular dance of domination. Most of these battles took place further way then I would have liked but I did manage a couple decent frames. It was certainly fun to watch them interact though

On this trip I had hoped to have the opportunity to photograph some of the other shorebird species that hang out on the mussel bed. I certainly got my wish as I laid on the sandy strip. 

A pair of Short-Billed Dowitchers flew in at the far end of the sand strip and started to feed along the waters edge making their way towards me. Their very fast feeders, rarely looking up for even a second. 

Once they felt they had gotten close enough to me they stopped.

then made a decision to head across the sand to the mussel bed. As you can see one of the individuals walked right into that sweet spot which created that beautiful BG colors again.

Another bird on the list was the Ruddy Turnstone. I only had a very brief encounter with one on the trip. He was very active in looking for food and passed right by me within seconds, only stopping once for a short break. I was able to capture these images.

The morning flew by fast and it was time to make the journey home. Along the way I had a short visit from a small group of Gray Jays. With no food on hand they didn't stick around me for very long.