Purple Bird! Purple Bird!
When rarities show up the birders (and bird photographers) gather. Recently a Purple Sandpiper stayed at Waukegan Beach for several days; this bird might be found in the Chicagoland area once every-other year so when one is reported many birders want to observe it so they can add it to their Life List (or as a new bird for their Illinois List or another bird for their Year List).
Emil Baumbach was there. Birder2011 was there. Hmeade was there. We went there as well and we all got pictures of the bird. Here are our shots:
Emil was there earlier in the morning than I was and he walked out on the concrete pier to get closer to the bird for his shot. He also had some sun, which helps give this purple-gray bird some definition. The bird was feeding along the pier, hopping in and out of crevasses and rocks.
Hmeade was there, too. He got a shot of the bird as it dipped its toes in the water. Looks like he missed the sun like me.
Birder2011 got there, the sun was out and got a great shot of it on the rocks.
When I got there (after Emil on the same day) the weather had turned. The sun was gone and it was spitting rain and snow. I thought about walking out on the pier toward the bird like Emil did but the wind had picked up and the gusts were so strong that sheets of water were being thrown up and over the pier – one gust of wind blew our scope over as it stood on the beach! A closeup of the bird was not worth getting thrown into Lake Michigan! I did get some shots from 100 yards away but as you can see the lack of sun and the ability to get closer to the bird greatly reduced the quality of my shots.
Timing is everything and we missed the window of opportunity for good shots of the bird by an hour or so. Still, we were happy to see this rare visitor to Chicagoland and notched another on our Illinois List bird.
If you’re traveling today to be with loved ones for Thanksgiving, be safe.
Stay safe. Go birding. Take pics. Share here. Repeat.
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