Shorebirds are some of my favorite birds. I always loved seeing them when I visited a few beaches known for attracting them in California when growing up. Last year was pretty much the year of the shorebird, we had more of them, and more variety of species, than I'd ever seen before. That was thanks to the extremely hot summers and mild winters of the two years prior (2012 and 2013), which created unprecedented mud flats and sandy shores around Cherry Creek reservoir, which created prime shorebird feeding grounds.
Between the deadly rains we had last September (it literally rained non-stop for over a week, no wind, the rain just fell vertically out of the sky at a high rate for days, flooding everything), and the hefty snow pack in the mountains this winter, water levels at Cherry Creek are some of the highest I've seen. Water is backlogged right back through the wetlands, and a couple days recently it was flowing backwards out of the lake because water levels were so high. Without much in the way of shores and mud flats, I don't expect to see as many shorebirds this year.
Thus, it was pretty nice to see a Willet meandering up and down one of the shores of Cottonwood Creek's wetland (a flow control system just south of Cherry Creek reservoir.) Willets are a bit larger shorebirds, larger than most pipers, slightly larger than Solitary Sandpipers. They are pretty bland at first look, but on closer inspection their gray is actually a number of colors and patterns, including gray, white, black, and some shades of brown and tan. They have fairly beefy bills compared to most sandpipers, more akin to a Godwit or Snipe.
Cherry Creek State Park (Cottonwood Creek Wetland)
Canon EOS 7D
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L II
Gitzo GT3532LS + Jobu Pro 2