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PIC OF THE WEEK: 10/30/17 • PREVIOUS WEEKALL 2017 PICSNEXT WEEK

Where: Chincoteague, VA
Notes: A mid-summer trip to Chincoteague brought this encounter with a typically difficult species to get close to. But this time, for some reason, things were different. I have seen these shorebirds along the causeway between Wallops Island and the town of Chincoteague before, but they always seemed to hang out in places where there were no pull-overs. Or they were just far away from the roadside completely. After finishing the day at the Chincoteague Island Blueberry Festival, I headed out to scout the causeway for birds. A couple tenths of a mile past the end of the bridge, I spotted a pair of stilts near a shallow pool not far off the roadside. I stopped the truck and sat still and quiet for a while. Then I readied my camera for the late afternoon lighting. Using the parked vehicle to hide my movement, I slowly crept to the tall grass right next to the front bumper and sat down. After a few minutes of stillness, one of the two birds took flight and my hopes for an image quickly faded. Then oddly enough, it circled back and landed in almost the same spot it took off from. Soon it began to walk back and forth only thirty feet or so away. It got a little closer and a little closer as it wandered back and forth. It remained partially hidden between clumps of marsh grass. Eventually it strolled out into the shallow water, bringing it out into the open. The water added both reflections and color to the scene. Its pink nine inch long legs moved like well-practiced chop sticks through the water. But the oddity of its closeness still puzzled me. Soon enough, the secret was revealed when one of their chicks crept into sight. It had been directly across the pool of water, hidden in the grasses. Soon a second youngster appeared as well. The stilts had been trying to divert my attention the whole time. I grabbed a last few shots and left them to their parenting duties, which are fairly minimal. Their chicks are nearly self-sufficient soon after hatching. Once they dry off, they can walk and begin to forage on their own.

Bird Photo 1
Small Bird Photo 2

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Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark III • Canon 400mm f-5.6 Prime USM L Series Lens • Gitzo Series 3 Tripod • Wimberly Head WH-101
Exposure: Shutter Speed = 1/2000 second • Aperture = f-5.6 • Exposure Mode = Aperture Priority • Focus Mode: One Shot • Lens (Focal) Length = 400 mm • ISO = 400 • Aprox. Camera Distance = ~20 Feet • Date Shot: 07-22-17

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