Stalking Through the Grass

Hi All,

Went to Chincoteague NWR over the weekend. Found this guy/gal hunting a marshy area at low tide. Weather was overcast and a little rainy. The bird wasn’t keen on my approach, so I hid behind an observation deck until it unwittingly came within shooting distance. Only got a few shots off before it saw me and quickly walked the other way. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what it is. ID help would be much appreciated (paiging @Allen_Brooks perhaps?).

In post, I cropped a bit and worked on the contrast and colors. I shot it through some foreground grass, which made everything green. Given that I’m unsure about the species, I am also a little unsure if I landed in the right place re: color and contrast. Otherwise, I resized, sharpened the bird, and reduced noise on the BG. All C&C welcome.

700mm, handheld
ISO 1600

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Hi Lyle, I think it’s a Willet, at least that’s what I’d think on the west coast. I like the composition and how it’s framed by the OOF foreground and background. Details look good. Not really sure about the colors, there seems to be a magenta cast to my eye.

Hi Lyle: Willet was as close as I could come. That beak is really think and the legs seem thicker than most shore birds, which is throwing me off. I agree with Allen on a magenta cast in the plumage. Once you get the color right it’s a great image. I love the low angle and the lovely green surroundings.

Count me in on the Willet and the ever so slight magenta cast in the plumage. Looks like you got low to get this shot. I love how it rendered the foreground grasses out of focus and the back ground grasses OOF. My one nit is the two long grasses that are behind the bird particularly the one coming right out of the tail. The blade of grass right in front of the beak is a little bit eye catching as well. Should be easy enough to clone out and I think this shot is worth the effort. You have a great head angle and body position. I have never seen a Willet in this type of setting so this is kind of a unique image for me. Well done.

Thanks, @Allen_Brooks, @Dennis_Plank, and @David_Haynes. I believe you’re right. I put in my app that the bird was in a grassland, so a Willet didn’t come up. Also, I don’t think I’ve personally seen a Willet outside of its winter plumage. Interesting interaction.

Hi Lyle
Nice framing on the Willet. The focus is right on, ( with the for-ground and back-ground vary soft). I think of the two blades of grass, the one going through the tail could use some work.