2021—Upland Sandpiper with Beetle

Early one morning in Custer State Park, we drove along the Wildlife Loop until we found a good spot to take sunrise photographs because there were some interesting clouds in the sky. As I pointed my lens east for sunrise, I heard Moose say quietly to me, “Carol, don’t move. An Upland Sandpiper is heading right toward you.” Sure enough, the bird was walking directly at me, head down, searching for something to eat. I froze in place and watched as the bird ignored me completely and continued its search closely passing me and not seeming to notice. It was oblivious to all of us. I had a chance to switch from my Nikon Z6II and Nikkor Z14-24mm lens back to my Nikon D6 and 500mmPF lens to capture larger images of the bird. The Upland Sandpiper was so cooperative that we had ample opportunities to photograph the bird. We photographed it for about 20 minutes. Only once did we see that it had been successful in foraging for bugs.