One of the best things about digital photography is that you can look closely at oldish photos and find new details. It’s especially interesting when you find that you’ve taken several photos of birds that you couldn’t identify at the time, but now have the resources to do so.
Case in point: I needed a horizontal header image for this blog. I went back into my digital archives and found a nice composition from a trip Matt and I took three Thanksgivings ago. We were staying in Port Angeles for the holiday, then ferrying over to Victoria for our first visit there together. The day before we left for BC, we took a drive out to the Ediz Hook, just outside of Port Angeles, and took some photos of birds on the beach there. There is a Reservation for Native Birds there, but I’m not sure on the rules of birding to know whether our spotting counts as natural or supplemental.
We hadn’t really gotten into birdwatching at that point, so the birds have gone unidentified for three years. Until just about an hour ago, when I found the photos again and identified the two types I snapped. All shots were taken on the northern shore of the hook, very near the “A” marker in the photo above, on November 22, 2007.
This is the raw image of the header, above. Across the log are eight Black Turnstones, which are members of the sandpiper family. They are found along the Pacific Coast in the Winter and they summer in the coastal areas of Alaska.
Black Turnstone - Arenaria melanocephala
In the bottom right corner of the raw header image you can just make out some little white headed birds – another type of sandpiper: Western Sandpipers.
- Western Sandpiper – Calidris mauri (plus an errant Turnstone)
At least, I’m pretty sure they are Western Sandpipers, though without a known control for contrast, they could be Semi-palmated Sandpipers or even Sanderlings. I use the Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America for all my local identifications. I also have a copy of the guide for Eastern North America as well, for when we’re back east visiting Matt’s family in Massachusetts. This Thanksgiving, we’ll be in Chicago, where I hope to see more birds I can identify for practice.