Short-billed Dowitchers are migrating along the Atlantic coast right now. They departed from the boreal forest of Canada where they breed in wetlands, often where the forest transitions to tundra. They may spend the winter from the southern US to the northern coast of South America. On this day in late July, they were at Rich Inlet, North Carolina. It's one of the few relatively natural inlets in the state and it's rich with invertebrates that will fuel their migration.
The photo: I like to photograph shorebirds at their level. This means I go as low as I can. For this photo, I was lying flat on the wet sand with my camera and lens resting on a boat cushion (a ground pod works well also). I watched the dowitchers and other shorebirds for about 15-20 minutes before determining where I wanted to be and moving into position. Key considerations were direction of light, movements of the shorebirds, and movement of the tide. All are important. Once in place, I let the birds approach me. I find that this is the best way to get natural behaviors and allow the birds to forage, preen, rest and go about their business without disturbance.