Long-billed Dowitcher, Gilbert AZ

On the ground — well, in the pond — dowitchers never stop moving.  They are the polar opposite of herons and cranes, which stand stock-still for minutes or even tens of minutes at a time, making it easy to get a boring shot.  By contrast, dowitchers feed incessantly, head bobbing up and down in a ceaseless sewing-machine motion as they walk.

Then, for no apparent reason, they spook and fly off in a gaggle.  As they reach some stretch of water deemed safe (for no apparent reason), they brake suddenly, flare too fast for the naked eye, and set down and resume feeding without even a pause.  Not that I’m, you know, complaining, but it makes them the very bugger to photograph. That’s a technical term. 

So when I get anything, I am a happy camper.

6-photo collage of long-billed dowitchersAnd when, more by chance than by good management, I have the right settings for a bird in flight and there are no other distractions, I am an exceedingly happy camper.

Long-billed dowitcher in flight

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