Monday, September 7, 2015

Black Bellied Plover

From a Bed and Breakfast point of view, I am trying to take advantage of the off-season before our busy season begins by taking wildlife photo trips as much as possible -- the "calm before the storm" perspective. However, it is Southern Arizona's Monsoon Season, so I am also limited to Mother Nature's "calm" between her "storms." 

I posted 10 days ago the difficulty in getting into Empire Gulch at Las Cienegas because of the flooding. I was thrilled with my photograph of a Yellow Billed Cuckoo. But it came at a price. The price was over 100 chigger bites on my legs (which are only now beginning to heal). 

Yesterday, I thought I'd go to Lake Cochise in Willcox, which is 75 miles east of Tucson. Just about every water bird that lands in Southern Arizona has at one time or another stopped at Lake Cochise. Since there was a report of two Black Bellied Plovers at Lake Cochise on Friday, I thought I'd give it a try. 

The Black Bellied Plover summers along the arctic coastlines throughout the world  (Alaska, Canada, Russia etc). They winter along the coastlines several thousand miles south. In North America, they winter along the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts. They are rarely found inland. Yet, here were two reported sightings in Southern Arizona.  

I assumed that the plovers came from Alaska, headed to the Gulf Coast and were forced to the ground by our storms. If that thinking was correct, surely they would take to the air as soon as possible to continue their migration.

On my drive to Lake Cochise I thought about the realistic chances of seeing and photographing one of these two Black Bellied Plovers. In addition to the urgency of their migration, I considered, given that Lake Cochise now has several thousand shorebirds, the likelihood of finding one of two plovers among thousands of other shorebirds.

The following quote from Darryl Zero (The Zero Effect) comes to mind:

"Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."

Many times I have gone looking for one thing, and found something else instead that I was quite pleased with. So, on whole, this isn't a bad thing.

But occasionally, as it was yesterday, I did find what I went looking for. In this case the Black Bellied Plover:

Black Bellied Plover

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