Shorebird migration, Copper River Delta, AK

Joined
Mar 16, 2005
Messages
3,045
Location
Alaska
One of my favorite places of all in Alaska is the Copper River Delta region near Cordova. During early May, the shorebird migration on the Delta has the greatest concentrations in North America with some 20 million birds passing through and stopping to eat. A road accessible bay, Hartney Bay, has extensive mudflats rich in micomus clams (the little pink ones) and other invertibrates. Nearly 100% of the world's population of western sandpipers and dunlin pass through the delta in their migration to nesting grounds. Most of the birds in this image are western sandpipers and dunlin (and glaucous winged gulls and herring gulls in the background).

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Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
4,507
Location
Haverhill, MA
Green With Envy

I've grown addicted to shooting shorebirds the past few years and you folks up there have great opportunities, both with migrating and breeding birds in full breeding plumage.

Definitely jealous :)
 
Joined
May 23, 2006
Messages
1,022
Location
SoCal
Steve, I'm a hopeless shorebird addict so you can imagine what a heavenly place your image depicts, thanks for sharing this beautiful shot! I echo Jim's thoughts about how fortunate you folks are to witness these birds in numbers, variety and also, of them being in breeding plumage.

Hey, I think I spot the Western Sandpiper who was down in SoCal on the lower left corner! :biggrin:
 
Joined
Mar 16, 2005
Messages
3,045
Location
Alaska
I've grown addicted to shooting shorebirds the past few years and you folks up there have great opportunities, both with migrating and breeding birds in full breeding plumage.

Definitely jealous :)
Steve, I'm a hopeless shorebird addict so you can imagine what a heavenly place your image depicts, thanks for sharing this beautiful shot! I echo Jim's thoughts about how fortunate you folks are to witness these birds in numbers, variety and also, of them being in breeding plumage.

Hey, I think I spot the Western Sandpiper who was down in SoCal on the lower left corner! :biggrin:
Well, you guys down south get things to shoot in the winter, when we have to travel somewhere south to find new things!
 
Joined
Mar 16, 2005
Messages
3,045
Location
Alaska
mmm... Copper River... mmm... salmon.... mmmm...
The Copper River Salmon fishery is well known, partly due to very good advertising. Each fisherman in the fleet contributes to a fund to advertise their products. It also helps that it is the first salmon fishery in the spring (generally the first opening is around May 15th), so those first fish bring the highest price. It's great fun to be in Cordova at the first opening. Hundreds of boats rush off, and when they return, there are a number of tenders lined up, each will have a group of boats waiting to unload. Fishermen who bring their catch directly to the processors at the dock make a bit more money, so there will be a bunch of boats waiting to unload at the dock. Everybody is excited, and many people from town come out to watch the boats come in. Fishermen will proudly show off some big king salmon as they pass by the crowd, always generating an ovation.

The Copper River fishery is also one of the more dangerous. Many fishermen work the "flats" where the river comes into the ocean, just outside the breakers. Loose power, or make a mistake, and the boat rolls up on the beach pounded by the waves.
 
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