Friday the 13th

Are you superstitious? Frankly I am not, but when it comes to Wildlife Photography, we had been skunked a lot lately. We had a whale watching tour from Forillon National Park and saw no whales. The operator had the policy that if you don’t see any whales and you are still in the area you could be “wait listed” for another tour. We were successful on our wait list and had the last two seats two days later. But still no whales!

We had been to a couple of “Parc Nationale” (really provincial) in Quebec and still no wildlife.

So we are near the L’Isle-Verte Migratory Bird Sanctuary looking for something to shoot. Driving through the area and stopping to look. We asked a local and he pointed to an area where we should see some American Black Ducks (Anas rubrite) which would be a first for us. So we drove to the car park for the trail and cautiously started the trail. The first thing we learnt was that these ducks were hyper-sensitive and all we saw was their departing rears.

Fleeing American Black Ducks

However, we did spot some shorebirds, always one of my delights, and started working a threesome of Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca).

Trio of Greater Yellowlegs
Inbound – Greater Yellowlegs

Then, on a narrow, weedy, low bar into the marsh there were some other shorebirds.

Greater Yellowlegs and Pectoral sandpiper

At first I could not identify the birds, but probably a sandpiper. There were two adults and two smaller versions – their young. Good old Sibley’s on the iPhone soon let us know that we were looking at Pectoral Sandpipers (Calidris melanomas) for the first time! And right next to them was a Wilson’s Snipe (Galliago delicate).

Pectoral Sandpipers and Wilson’s Snipe
Adult and young Pectoral Sandpipers with Wilson’s Snipe

It is always good to see a new species, but it is always a thrill to see a snipe!

Then Louise, my spotter, said that there were more birds just to the right of the group I was working. So I swung the camera round and yes, there was a group of three Wilson’s Snipes. So we think we were looking at two adult and two young snipes. Even thinking about it now is thrilling!

Trio of Wilson’s Snipes. Adult and two young?
Trio of Wilson’s Snipes. Adult and young?

My first snipe was a Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) in Churchill, Manitoba while on a workshop with Moose Peterson. He said that it was only the second time in his career that he had got glass on a Common Snipe. During the visit the sound of the wingbeats drove Louise crazy as she knew where the sound was coming from but could not see the snipe! So the snipes are always special to Louise and me.

So in the end, what a Friday the 13th we had!

Gear: Nikon D4s, Nikkor 600mm f/4 VRII, Nikkor TC-17 EII, Nikon GP-1, RRS TVC-34L, RRS Full Gimbal Head, Lexar Digital Film

One Response to “Friday the 13th”

  1. Nancy Mossip says:

    Fabulous story Richard. What a lucky Friday the 13th you both finally had. Beautiful pictures. All the best. Nancy

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