Something Wonderful! A close encounter with a Black-necked Stilt! A few days ago this week we went to see the Stilts at the local wetland field. They were very far off wading by their nest in the weeds and very wary of us, giving a warning call. (not completely crazy yet the words for this week will start with "w" for ABC Wednesday.)
My husband decided to wander off and went to another area to walk. I decided to quietly watch them out on the berm alone. The water level was about the same as before so that was good for the nest. The weather was cold and windy and I decided to sit down where I was in some weeds and wait, with my camera and lens wedged where I could reach it as the weight is too heavy for my wrist. (the "w" words are for a blogger game we play)
The Stilts were way too far away for my lens (100 to 400) so while I was trying to figure out the focus on the new Canon 7D, something wonderful happened when one of the Stilts flew in and sat beside me! Quietly without the warning call. She was too close for my focus! It was the most amazing experience in the world for a birder. She sat beside me for a long time and she bowed down and crouched on the shore in front of me. She wisely looked directly at me the whole time. I had no idea what to do. Finally I decided to grab the camera and fire off a few shots!! She even remained and posed for these shots.
I will always wonder what she thought. Did she like the black and white lens? Did she like what I wore, my black and white wardrobe? Was it just a whim to see me? Why? I don't know which one of the Stilts it was, male or female. The male has a greenish tinge and the female has a brownish tinge to the back and wings. Perhaps she is greeting everyone this way now? She is the local celebrity and star of the birding groups. Has she learned that once the birder gets the shots, the birder runs home as fast as he can to see them. I have decided that it was the female as she had the entire field to wade in but she wanted to see me and came directly for me to have a chat about those baby Stilts!
The Stilts are white below and have black wings and backs. The tail is white with grey bands. They have a white spot above the eye which distinguishes it from the Black-winged. They usually winter in the salt ponds in Southern California as well as South eastern Oregon. One would not expect to see them here even in this time of year. We have not had Stilts here for 25 years and never had them nest here.
This is where she sits down with me for a visit and a little chat.
These long legs take time to tuck under.
The Stilts incubate the eggs for one month and protect the chicks until they are 27 to 31 days old and able to fly. The nests are usually situated within 7 feet of each other and nests are rarely found alone. The young can swim within 2 hours of hatching but depend on parents for a few more weeks. There is another nest out there also with chicks.
She decides to rest a while with me.
She is completely comfortable now and alertly checking me out. I was not in a blind or covered over in any way and just a few feet from her. She is totally silent and does not make any aggressive, territorial or protective calls.
Populations of Stilts have declined due to humans use of their habitat as well as lack of food stocks. They are all welcome here. I am in love with Stilts now! I just hope that part of the wetland area can remain untouched. The incredible farmer who owns the land has been so kind to not disturb the Stilts and none of this would have been possible if he had planted.
She decided that it was time to check on the little ones and calmly leaves me as gently as she came into my world. It is always wonderful to experience an intimate connection with something unknown and wild. Perhaps our silence together is a form of communication we just don't remember.
After a while, my husband returned to pick me up and was excited as he found a snipe but I had the pictures to prove my birding story.
Some blurry shots of the Black-necked Stilts chicks far away over by the nest area.
The memes for this week are: ABC Wednesday the letter "w". Thank you to these memes for allowing bloggers to share their story. I may not remember to enter them all but I still list them as this is the quick way for me to do it as I have trouble with my eyes, can't spend as much time on the computer now.
Show off Your Shot
Our World Tuesday
Sweet Shot Tuesday
World Bird Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday with Words
Nature Notes Wednesday
edit note: I sometimes have to republish after I see how many errors I made or links not working. I list all the memes for the week now as I can only spend a short time on the computer as my eyes get tired. Such is life. To continue reading posts you must click older post below or see the index at the top or the side or pick a popular post or label from the sidebar.