birds in the bay

We took a short walk at the Alviso marina yesterday and found shorebirds by the hundreds.  This little bay is at the extreme southeastern end of the large bay that opens up at San Francisco’s Golden Gate and runs almost all the way to San Jose where we have been staying the past couple of weeks.  Two creeks empty into the bay here, so there is a sizeable acreage of marsh just perfect for migrating as well as breeding shorebirds.  I’ll write more about this in the next couple of days, but for now here are a couple of photos of what we saw.

eared grebe-male

A male Eared Grebe with his golden feathers flying out from his “ears” (really the side of his head) patrolled along the shore accompanied by his two females.  Nice mohawk hairdo on this guy.

black-necked stilt-

There were several Black-necked Stilts wandering around among the other, smaller shorebirds.

american avocet

Avocets have one of the most unusual bills — long, slender, and upturned, which apparently is useful for finding tiny invertebrates in the water.

western sandpiper and dunlin-

The mudflats were crowded with little sandpipers. A group of Dunlin (with dark black bellies) surrounded one lone Western Sandpiper on this mudflat.

western sandpiper-

A lone Western Sandpiper got close enough to us that we could zoom in on his spots.  Its beak kind of looks like Pinocchio’s nose.

dunlin and western sandpiper

Every so often a large group of sandpipers would fly off, circle around, and land on a different mudflat. The whole flock turned simultaneously, causing it to shimmer in silver or white, as they flashed their white bellies toward or away from me.

The wind was blowing pretty hard in the open areas of the marsh, and the telephoto was pretty wobbly in my hands, so my husband had a try at getting these photos, with much more success than I did.

shorebird photography

This is what you do when the birds are far away and you don’t have a tripod for your telephoto lens.  (photo taken with my phone)

5 thoughts on “birds in the bay

  1. Hi Sue,This is Chad & Linda Erickson, who photoshopped one of your photos for the American Surveyor Magazine. We are no in Santa Rosa, CA, which is a big deal for us. We’ll be in San Francisco for the next four days, we’ll look for your birds. Chad 

  2. Wonderful shots, Sue, of some really cool looking birds–I especially like that Grebe, with the Avocet a close second. Most of these are ones that I have never seen before. Thanks for sharing your West coast adventures.

  3. Pingback: at the bay | Back Yard Biology

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