An American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) pauses momentarily while feeding in a former salt pond in Alviso, California.


Thanks to a message posted the Bay Area Bird Photographers (BABP) mailing list by Peter LaTourrette, I recently decided to check out the shorebird action in Alviso. (If you would like to join BABP, click here for membership information.) Peter’s message told of “breeding-plumaged Dunlin, Western and Least Sandpipers … swirling about and feeding in good light” in a former salt pond. I checked out the pond near Alviso Marina County Park over the weekend and, as I had hoped, there were good numbers of the promised shorebirds. The birds tended to be rather cautious, but I was able get a number of quality wading and flight shots to add to my portfolio.

Unfortunately, upon returning to the salt pond yesterday at dawn, the numbers of Dunlin and Sandpipers had dropped significantly, and their caution had been transformed into fearful avoidance of my general vicinity. The only consolation for spending my morning sitting in the mud on the edge of the pond was the very cooperative American Avocet pictured above. As the avocet fed, it moved along the pond’s edge, passing right in front of me without a moment’s hesitation.

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