Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Elegant American Avocet

I recently accompanied my husband on a business trip to Tremonton, Utah. While he attended to business, I gathered my binoculars and camera gear and visited Antelope Island State Park in Syracuse, Utah. I spent seven hours at this glorious park and excitingly tallied up 30 life bird species.

Visitors to Antelope Island drive across a narrow, seven mile causeway from the mainland to the island. About three miles in, I spotted hundreds of shorebirds feeding in the shallow salt water pools. To my delight, as far as the eye could see, striking American Avocets were sweeping their thin, upturned bills back and forth just below the waters surface in search of nourishment. Avocets are not commonly seen in the Midwest, so viewing these beauties in such vast numbers was quite a thrill. Last year, I drove an hour for my first ever sighting of two avocets seen at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois. They were quite a distance away, but I was elated to catch a glimpse of these stunning birds. Imagine my glee in viewing such vast numbers of avocets along the Antelope Island causeway, at a much closer range. Though the weather was quite gray and dreary, I truly enjoyed observing these elegant birds.

A beautiful sight! ~ American Avocets

Four striking avocets nap while others forage for prey

 Slender-billed avocets seek sustenance in the rippling salt water

Bill sweeping in search of a tasty treat

A serene scene

Rows of avocets snooze while stilts and phalaropes feed around them

A good look at these stunning, long-legged birds

Breathtaking elegance!

Posted by Julie Gidwitz 


  1. Splendid pictures!! Love the serene scene :)

  2. I love Avocets. They are like a piece of amazing art walking around in the water. Gorgeous shots as always Julie!

  3. Hello Julie! I didn't realize you had another blog until this morning. I'm not a birder, but I can still enjoy their beauty and your Avocet photos are wonderful. It really is such a beautiful bird, and you did it proud with your pictures.
    Warm Regards.

  4. Hi Julie, What a great post … just a perfect addition to the Birding is Fun blog. The American Avocets are beautiful, the photographs are excellent, and the write up is interesting. What a great day you had and, despite cloudy weather, your photos really show the beauty and grace of these birds. I really like the way you worked the reflections into several of the pictures. Your experience with these birds led me to look up a range map. Isn’t it interesting the way Avocets spend the winters along the coasts of North America, in the lower latitudes, and yet spend summers breeding in a large area more in the middle of the continent … sort of what I would call the “high plains”. While we might think generally of the high plains as a largely dry area, your photos show the truth with the birds enjoying the shallow parts of ponds and lakes. Thank you for sharing another wonderful set of photos. John

  5. Hello Julie: I'm awed how you utilized the available light in capturing and more importantly showcasing the Avocets. Nothing short of stunning! Bravo, mon amie. :)

  6. Oh, Juile! I use to see avocets when I lived in Utah. I love Antelope Island. I am so glad you were able to go there. It is a birder's and photographer's paradise! I love the photo of them all lined up in rows like groceries in a grocery store! What fun! I love the reflections in that still water as well.

  7. Bellissime fotografie, complimenti. Un felice weekend per te.

  8. The American Avocets are beautiful birds. It's interesting to see them changing from their breeding colours to their winter colours. The photo of the rows of Avocets in straight lines is fantastic. I'd like to visit Antelope Island some day too. Thanks for sharing your great photos, Julie!

  9. I've never seen an Avocet, what beautiful birds! I love all these photos, but the one titled "A Serene Scene" and the one just beneath it are absolutely captivating! I keep thinking the birds are spelling out a message in that second one, and it would impart great wisdom if only I weren't a dim human unable to decipher it. :-)