Avocet Love (additional image plus putting the sequence in order as suggested)

Original Post

In sequence from start to finish below

Getting Ready

Preparing to mount


Balancing Act

Avocet Love

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


This is a series of images of two Avocets mating. Late Winter to Early Spring is usually when the Avocets in my area prepare to mate but the trick is getting close enough to them and trying get the right angle. Patience is also needed. I got pretty lucky on my first day shooting these birds. I was talking to one of my buddies who had been shooting them for a week or so and he said you’ll be lucky to get one pair mating over a 4 hour period. About 10 minutes after he said that a pair mated but they were way too far away and at the wrong angle. Not long after that, a pair of Black necked Stilts mated near the same area as the Avocets. Too far.
About an hour after that a pair flew in from another pond and immediately began the whole ritual. Sometimes they are quick about it and others times, well, you just have to wait for the male to ready himself for the mount. That can take 5 minutes sometimes. This was one of those times. I posted what I think is my favorite image at the top of the post. This is when the male quickly dismounts and immediately they go into an embrace where the male covers the back of the female with one wing and they do this interesting thing with their scythes.

Specific Feedback

I thought I would post one series of images rather than posting several different posts about this series. What I’m interested in is which is your favorite in the series, and do you have any suggestions on improving any of them? As always, I appreciate you taking the time to have a look and comment.

Technical Details

Z9, 100-400 with 1.4 extended shot at 560mm, ISO 1600, SS 1/1000, f/9, manual Mode, Hand Held

These are all wonderful images and make a great series, David. I’m hoping to sneak over to an area on the other side of the mountains where there are avocets later this spring (but spring is always so busy). I think I agree with your choice of the best image, but it wasn’t an easy choice. I don’t have any nits at all with these. Excellent work.

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Hi David,

These belong in a book! Seriously!

These are very well composed and they tell the story on their own (as a series).

The first one with the male hugging the female is priceless. :two_hearts:


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Beautiful captures…the BG, colours and details are wonderful…and a good reminder to me to use a higher f-stop when I can for two birds! My favourite is also the top one as it is a very compelling moment that is rarely seen. It is a cool set of images that would be fun to see “in order” , e.g Preparing to mount, Balancing Act and then the top one.Beautifully done!

The second is my favorite because of the different positions of the birds, but really all are excellent photos. Everything is sharp and the action frozen. Super background and light. They are such elegant birds and I’ve never seen a bad photo of them, but neither have I seen this behavior before. They aren’t native to anywhere I’ve lived so this is a treat. Great job.


These are all good and like the bright coloration and each one can be liked in so many ways. The greens in the water and of course the love birds all say that Spring has arrived. Awesome series…Jim

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Hi David, terrific series showing this behavior. I really like all of them but I think the first is my favorite - great interaction. Great techs and DOF. Wonderful for you to capture this so well - nicely done.

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A beautiful series . Excellent detail, great story, and I like the color of the water as well. As with the others, the first is my favorite.

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Aesthetically and technically wonderful. My favorite is the entire series. I do not prefer one over the others. Just fantastic all around.

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Great series, agree with your choice of the first (here) as my favourite, but also agree with @Robena.Sirett about having the first one in order, just for the info. Were you well hidden?

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Absolutely wonderful!! Luck favors the prepared! No nits at all!

Thanks very much for your comments and your favorite pick @Dennis_Plank , @Merv , @Robena.Sirett , @_Kris , @Jim_Zablotny , @Allen_Sparks , @Allen_Brooks , @Jim_Gavin , @Mike_Friel , @Diane_Miller.
It seems like the consensus is that the original post is the favorite. Thanks for helping me out with that. You’ve been a big help! I’ve added the sequence in order as a couple of you have suggested. And, Added another image!

I was not hidden Mike. Right out in the open which makes this all the more challenging to get close but these birds seems to be well adjusted to humans so that helped…a little bit! Yep, I wanted to put these in order but then my favorite wouldn’t have shown up on the posting page so these are out of order. If I ever do a series again, I will post my favorite but then I will post in order below that so it makes more sense. Thanks Mike, for your suggestion.

Good luck, Dennis. Thanks so much for your comment.

Hi David, lovely series and a thrill to witness, I’m sure. You got a very nice series, my personal favorite is the tender bill crossing in your opening image. Cheers, Hans