These shorebird photos were made between April 17th and May 12th, 2015 at Fort Supply Lake, Oklahoma. None of them stay at the lake for long, but stop for a few days to rest and re-fuel before continuing northward to their nesting grounds.
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The beautiful and graceful American Avocets have been visitors to the lake for the last few years.
This male is presenting his courtship display in preparation for the upcoming nesting season.
Avocets feed by sweeping their bills from side to side to catch crustaceans , aquatic insects and seeds.
In winter, the rust colored head and neck area becomes gray.
Avocets have been known to nest in this area, but this flock moved on, probably farther north.
Willets are some of the larger members of the sandpiper family.
They look similar to the greater yellowlegs, but have gray legs and their bill is thicker.
They can be identified in flight by the black and white wing markings which the yellowlegs lack.
Smaller than the willet, the Wilson’s phalarope is another member of the sandpiper family.
In most bird species the male is the more colorful, however the Wilson’s phalarope is an exception. The more colorful and boldly patterned bird is the female.
After laying eggs, the female Wilson’s phalarope deserts her mate and leaves him to care for the young while she seeks another mate and lays more eggs.
While feeding, they spin in circles to create a whirlpool in the water which draws food to the surface.
The Baird’s sandpiper travels an amazing distance during migration. They winter in South America and nest in the high-arctic. Many individuals make the 9,300 mile trip in as little as little as five weeks.