Wow, a Whimbrel!

This gallery contains 3 photos. The sudden appearance of this late migrant Whimbrel on the south side of the Tsawwassen Ferry Causeway on a very gusty November 19 made us reconsider our decision to leave the area. It was fraternizing with seven Black Oystercatchers (who apparently were also rarities in the area until a breeding pair showed up about 10 years ago).

WHSIM-Whimbrel1the length of its down-curving bill is 2.3-3.5 inches, and body length is 12-14 inches
f/6.3, 1/400, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 250 

My first sighting of this large shorebird was in the third week of July 2015, and this November sighting is the closest I’ve gotten to one. I’m surprised to discover just how small they are — about the same size as the gull-sized Black Oystercatchers. Right now, this Whimbrel is supposed to be wintering in the southern U.S., Central America, and South America. What could possess it to stay well past its regular migration patterns is a bit of a mystery.

WHSIM-Whimbrel2for a wary shorebird, the presence of several humans didn’t faze it at all. another mystery!
f/6.3, 1/400, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 250 

Apparently the pickings on the shore were quite good, because every forage it made brought forth a hapless fiddler crab (no, s/he’s not offering that freshly caught piece of sushi to me). This prolific crabber didn’t mind being photographed by me (clearly it had already gotten lots of attention from other photographers recently) — and even kiteboarders in the immediate vicinity would merely make it fly up and resettle at its stomping grounds after a few seconds.

WHSIM-Whimbrel3I’ve eaten already, but thank you all the same for that authentic crab! 🙂
f/6.3, 1/400, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 250 



39 thoughts on “Wow, a Whimbrel!

    • I’d like to call the Whimbrel the elephant of the avian kingdom, but believe it or not, there is an even bigger cousin, the Long-Billed Curlew, which has an even longer and more curved bill! 🙂


    • thank you, Maja! the longest bill I’ve seen on a bird to date, but not the longest bill, period! (6.7 inches on its bigger cousin, the long-billed curlew, which I’m hoping to see sometime this winter, too!) 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Long-Billed Curlew | W.H. SIM PHOTOGRAPHY

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