Avocet, Gilbert Water Ranch

Next to black-necked stilts, these are my favourite wading birds, but I find them a little shy.  They tend to stay further from shore, and are also in almost constant motion, making it tougher to get a good shot.

But sometimes I get what I’m looking for.

Female avocet wading through pond.

Sometimes I get more than I was looking for.  Taking photos of moving birds makes me watch them more carefully, trying to time my shutter release.  I’ve learned, for example, that mallards usually dunk themselves before flaring their wings, but ring-necked ducks not so much.  Watching avocets through a camera lens for that rare moment of stillness, I’ve learned that they don’t stab their bills into the water to grab food.  Instead, they swish their bill sideways through the water, scooping up munchies.



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