Monday, November 4, 2013

The Sanderling @ TC Dike

If you want the ultimate definition of a common winter shorebird, it would be the Sanderling.  A Texbird callout of “Sanderling @ Texas City Dike!” would get zero response.  But I’m quite thrilled with these first photos of this winter beach icon.  Why? 

I never take my camera and 400mm lens out onto the beach; too much exposure to humidity, wind and blowing sand for my camera’s maintenance budget.  I’ll keep my binoculars tucked inside a windbreaker, but the camera gear gets left behind (no, not in the car).

And although Sanderlings are incredibly common across all lower forty-eight seashores, they are like Winter Texans, heading north for summertime. In their case, they head WAY north, as in the northern coast of Canada. 

A U.S. birder would definitely call out a “rare bird alert” if sighting a Sanderling in May-August full breeding plumage.  And the response would be a plenty.  Take a look at your favorite field guide or birding website and check out the Sanderling in its adult breeding plumage.  Quite colorful—and probably something this native Texan will never claim.  But that’s ok, I think these winter beach-loving beauties are just greyt!

And speaking of greyhounds, these tiny feathered friends are fast runners!  Birding photographers will appreciate just how hard it is to get these little ones to stop moving and smile for the camera. 

The pictures tell the story (including the to-ground viewing angle required of this happy photographer):

May all your days be birdy days!
P.S.  I encourage both beginning birders and seasoned Aves photographers to give the Texas City Dike a visit.  The unique six mile ribbon of road extending into Galveston Bay provides excellent viewing opportunities and quite good ambient conditions for birding photography.


  1. Great beach reflection in perfect light. Also really liked the shot with a morsel in the bill. RC

  2. Your photography is wonderful, and your commentary brings back so many memories of years birding and photoing the birds in that area. Sanderlings were always one of my favorites because of the way they run, and because they are so darned cute!


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