Pete Myers: Bird Life on the Beach


Pete Myers

November 14, 2022

Arts and Creativity
Environmental Health
Nature and Ecology

November 13, 2022 - January 13, 2023

Feeding, Fighting, Flocking and Frolicking: Photographic Insights into Shorebird Natural History

Georgia O’Keefe taught us not just to look, but to see the beauty of nature in its intimate details. She worked with subjects, often flowers, that at best move very slowly, but mostly not at all.

Birds, in contrast, move rapidly, often faster than our eyes can track.  With modern photographic equipment, I aspire to emulate O’Keefe: to capture intimate moments in birds’ lives that reveal details not evident to casual observers, and with these prints to share those moments with you.  Each one has a rich story behind it. And each depicts a part of the natural history of northern California’s sandy beaches.

These photographs capture vibrant details of the life of birds living, fighting, feeding and dying on the beaches of Point Reyes and Bodega Bay. They reveal aspects of the life of birds few casual observers will ever see.

Capturing these images only starts with modern photographic equipment.  Much more important are stealth, guile, and patience. And most important of all is that I have worked with many of these species for decades, here on Point Reyes, so I can often anticipate what they are about to do, and thus be prepared to catch their exquisite moments.

I am so pleased to bring these photographs home to Point Reyes, to Commonweal.

Almost all these photographs were taken using a Sony a1 with either a 100-400 or 200-600 zoom and natural light


About the Artist

Pete Myers

The sandy beaches of northern California have been a part of my life since the 1970s, when I began studying the natural history, ecology, and behavior of sanderling for my dissertation at UC Berkeley. I was based at the Bodega Marine Lab, but wandered widely up and down the coast with many hours spent on Limantour Beach on Point Reyes. Since that era I have taken tens of thousands of photographs of birds that live on these sandy beaches.

My family and I spent half-a-dozen Christmas holidays at Commonweal, with me driving before dawn to Limantour Beach, including on Christmas mornings. What could be more invigorating, restorative and inspiring than witnessing dawn rise amidst hundreds of shorebirds on one of the world’s finest temperate beaches, with no other humans in sight?


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