Shorebirds Afoot, Oxnard Edition

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A curlew tosses a sand crab (aka mole crab) into the air and catches it for an afternoon snack in Oxnard, California.

Story

My wife, Susan, travels frequently on business to Oxnard, California, and I ended up visiting her there three times over the past six months. I take some time each trip to photograph the birds on the beach. While the image of the curlew tossing the sand crab, above, was taken on a June afternoon, the gallery below features photographs from early morning this past October. I don’t like sand in my shoes, so I always head out in bare feet. The sand is very cold before the sun comes up and it takes a few hours for my feet to warm up afterwards. But the lighting is worth it. Oxnard Beach is wide and then slopes steeply down into the water. As the sun rises, the light crests the ridge of sand and begins to hit the birds before it reaches the beach and surf behind them, leading to a striking spot-lit effect. But this lasts only briefly each morning.

Click on one of the pictures below and you can page through the gallery with larger images. Enjoy!

Technical Details

All photographs in this post were taken with the Nikon Z7. The photograph of the curlew at the top of this post was taken with the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR. The rest were taken with the AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR. Both lenses are compact and exceptional; even the 500mm is comfortable to use hand-held for extended periods of time.

Puzzling Postscript

There were not just birds on the beach that October morning. I wish I knew the story behind the swarm’s assault on this particular chair (and hopefully not its occupant!). I assume that it happened late the previous afternoon. A little while after this photograph was taken, the chair was knocked over by the rising tide.

A swarm of bees has settled on a now-abandoned chair on Oxnard Beach, Oxnard, California.

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