New Birder Experience – Shorebirds and Wading Birds

This past weekend Stacia and I headed out to one of DeKalb County’s best forest preserves and one of the better ones in northern Illinois: Afton Forest Preserve.

Despite getting a later start due to heavy fog and being stopped by a train, the bird activity was excellent. We discovered several Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons and discussed the differences between “shore” birds and “wading” birds.

Great Egret
Great Egret

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

We also found several shorebirds including a Wilson’s Snipe, Short-billed Dowitcher, and a Greater Yellowlegs. Much of the birds were far off but I demonstrated how to use the Swarovski spotting scope (which of course is super easy) and also did a bit of digiscoping.

Wilson’s Snipe
Wilson's Snipe

Unfortunately, I am not the best teacher when it comes to those pesky sandpipers so we did not identify them all but Stacia’s life list grew by 10 species. Every time is fun because we purposely try to enjoy each sighting to the fullest instead of checking off large numbers of birds.

Without a doubt, showing new birds to Stacia is improving the way I look at birds and increasing my joy of learning about each species and their behaviors.

4 thoughts on “New Birder Experience – Shorebirds and Wading Birds

  1. My new favorite bird is the Great Blue Heron. They are beautiful. I’d never seen a “wader” bird fish before (I never really thought about what they ate) and it was amazing to see that behavior up close through the digiscope. What we saw on our outing makes me want go birding again!

  2. Stacia – I am so happy that you enjoyed our birding outing!! It means the world to me to share my passion and to try to teach about birds and anything else I know about nature. The natural world is so much better when shared 🙂

  3. I totally agree! Once my daughter (Red aka Heidi) discovered birding and photographing them was fun, we have enjoyed each other’s company when we do it together. She has taught me tips and tricks with using a camera, and I have helped her (in the past) to identify the birds. Of course, now she can easily ID the birds sooner than I. ;o)

  4. We just ran across your post. These shore birds are terrific finds. We see blue herons fairly regularly nearby.

    Spring is a marvelous time for migrating birds. We look forward to our annual trek here in OH to see the incredible array and vast variety of warblers who stop through our area every year.

    Thank you for these baeutiful photos.

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