Why Go to Churchill, Manitoba, to Photograph Birds?

Simply to see the shorebirds in their breeding plumage as they arrive in, or pass through, Churchill.  These birds have a completely different appearance at this time of year in this location compared to the rest of the year in their usual habitats on the East or West coasts of the USA.

The males are bright and vibrant in order to attract a mate. The females are camouflaged in order to blend in with their surroundings as protection while on the nests and caring for their young.  Some breeds, both males and females, have a solid black breast in order to radiate heat while sitting on their eggs which are laid on the cold Tundra.

I first came to Churchill four years ago on a photography workshop with Moose Petersen, fell in love with the birds, the opportunity to shoot, the town and the community.  So for this return I have stayed longer, seen more species of birds and have better images than before.  I am sure that this is not my last visit to Churchill.

Here is a sample of some of the species photographed on this visit and a couple of species with the contrasting images with their non-breeding plumage.

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Two breeds for comparison: American Golden Plover, males and females have the black front and the Short-billed Dowitcher with a magnificent display of Rufus!

American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) in non-breeding plumage

American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) in breeding plumage

Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) in non-breeding plumage

Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) in breeding plumage

Other species of Shorebirds in Breeding Plumage:

Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica)

Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)

Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria) – Good Camouflage

Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus)

Baird’s Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii)

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)

Gear: Nikon D4s, Nikkor 600.0mm f/4 VRII, Nikkor TC-17, RRS Tripod & Gimbal Head, Lexar Digital Film

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