Blog California

Shorebirds by the seaside

October 7, 2021

Today I’d like to share some photos I shot over the weekend. To get these shots, I bought a $500 bird blind, sat in it all day, and shot three million photos. Hahaha just kidding. I went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and shot them all in about five minutes with my superzoom camera. Cheating.

Actually, a couple of these were shot in the wilds, if you can call the 17-Mile-Drive “the wilds.” By the way if you have never done the 17-Mile-Drive, it is not merely a tour of a rich-people neighborhood. Fanshell Beach (stop number nine) is a really great place for beachcombing and worth the $10.75 entrance fee all by itself.

This is a black-necked stilt. These birds live in mudflats and salt marshes and, evidently, in the Sandy Shore & Aviary exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They are easily identifiable by their contrasting black and white feathers and the fact that they have ridiculously long legs. In fact, in proportion to their bodies, stilts have the longest legs of any bird except the flamingo and the extra advantage of not looking like a lawn ornament in Florida.

These are American avocets. These two are non-breeding adults — breeding adults are fancier, with rust-colored necks. They use these weirdly shaped beaks to catch water-dwelling invertebrates.

This is a black-bellied plover. As you can see, it does not have a black belly. That’s because it, too, is a non-breeding adult.

At least, I think that’s what these birds are. If I am wrong, I will be super embarrassed.

Here are the ones I shot at the beach:

A Brandt’s cormorant. I think.

Some seagulls. Pigeons of the seaside.

A couple of otters messing around in the water.