almost forgotten

I completely forgot about photos taken at Zion National Park on the evening we arrived because they were on a different camera card than all the other photos from the trip. The ladies at the campsite next to ours were enjoying the sunset hour sitting by the creek watching a small flock of Avocets wade in the swiftly moving water.  The birds were motionless for a long period of time until a hiker on the opposite side of the creek started moving upstream toward them, and they took off.

Avocets, Springdale, Utah

Just stopping by in southern Utah on their way to breeding grounds further north…

Avocets, Springdale, Utah

The rusty brown head color is a signal that these birds are ready to breed. Non-breeding birds are entirely black and white. Differences in the intensity of the brown color is most likely a result of the extent of the spring molt in the head and neck feathers.

Avocets, Springdale, Utah

They weren’t ready to move on quite yet, because as soon as the hiker passed by, the birds settled back down on the creek.

American Avocets are one of four species in the world, all of which are easily recognized by their slender, upturned bill which they use to seine back and forth in shallow water for small invertebrates. The rushing creek was most likely a resting spot, not suitable for foraging.

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