Sunday, March 13, 2011

Love Those Black-necked Stilts

Black-necked Stilts are one of the most common shorebirds seen around the coastal waters here off San Francisco Bay. Along with American Avocets, they frequent the nearby tidal marshes and ponds and feed on tiny invertebrates they find there. Here are some Black-necked Stilts I think you'll enjoy.

When I'm out photographing birds, the Black-necked Stilt is the bird I'm most often asked about by passersby. They all want to know what that cute little bird with the red legs is. The red legs are undoubtedly the most distinctive feature of these guys, but those long legs allow them to wade in the water and have the perspective to see what they're going after. I frequently see them feeding alongside American Avocets, as shown above.

While the American Avocets sweeps its bill from side to side to find prey, the Black-necked Stilt has a more direct approach -- it carefully eyes what's before it and takes a snatch-and-grab approach. Here are a few shots that demonstrate the technique.





Black-necked Stilts do sit, but more often they sleep standing up, perched on one leg, usually in pairs or small groups. Check out these guys dozing in the water and the Three Amigos on shore in the shot following and their reflection in the water.


And here's a shot of a Black-necked Stilt with somebody who isn't even a cousin -- a Black-bellied Plover, another shorebird I love but don't see too often. (It's in its winter suit, but will have an actual black belly come summer.)

And here are a couple more shots that give you a really good look at how gorgeous this bird is. By the way, you may have noticed that some images show the bird with a brownish back, rather than the jet black in the others. That's the female with the brownish/ black coloring.



The stark black and white coloring of the Black-necked Stilt sure isn't apparent when they're babies. How's that for a set up? Are you ready now to see some chicks? Prepare yourself to die from the cuteness!



What, you're still here? You survived the onslaught of the adorable? Well, this is mom and did she ever give me an earful when she saw how close I got to her babies.

I'm very lucky to live in an area where Black-necked Stilts are year-round residents. Some of the Western states will see them in summer as will the southeastern coast of the U.S., but you folks in the Midwest are just outta luck when it comes to seeing these beauties. Black-necked Stilts are one of the San Francisco Bay Area's treasures. I hope you've enjoyed looking at these images as much as I enjoy photographing these beautiful birds. Thanks for stopping by.









18 comments:

  1. Very nice - I like the feeding shots especially. We see stilts relatively infrequently in north Florida

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had a wonderful time watching these birds together with you.Thanks.In some of those shots it looks like the Atilt will fall forward.I had to smile at those.Great work,on your part.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fabulous post! Your images and details are wonderful. Love the reflections!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you, Nina!

    mm, appreciate your visit & comments.

    Ruth, so nice to see you here again. Thank you.

    DrMarm, what would I do w/o you? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Fantastic series!! I especially love the ones with the babies ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh my goodness..fuzzy baby cuteness!!!
    What a lovely bird the Stilt is....I would love to see one.

    ReplyDelete
  7. SLH, thank you. Just commented on your blog on the lovely Grackle shots.

    Robbie, thanks much. Those chicks are cuties.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Beautiful!!! Superb photos, every last one of 'em!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow..What beauties! Those chicks are sooooooooo..cute! GReat shots!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wonderful post! You captured the beauty and delicacy the Black-necked Stilt in a most lovely manner. I'm especially appreciative of bloggers like you who share their nature experiences through words and photographs. Especially since I have never had the pleasure to observe Black-necked Stilts before (I live in Chicago). Those little chicks ... I'm melting! This Black-necked Stilt post is most definitely my favorite blog post of the day. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Jann, I have to second a lot of what Julie G said ... it's just wonderful to find a blog like yours where these kinds of experiences are shared. What a great series of pictures! The chicks are amazingly cute. And those guys on one foot! Wow. Many thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great capture!

    Kah Wai
    http://kwbirding.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  13. Fantastic post! I got to see a Black-necked stilt a few years ago when it apparently got off track and landed up in a "fluddle" (farm land field puddle)here in Illinois. It was awesome! Love those loooong legs! You are very lucky to see them year round. Such adorable images in this post. Especially loved the babes and the three one legged shot with the reflection. Your post was a joy to view.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great images. I will come here again.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Jann, I just looked at this post a second time and I must say it's every bit worth a second look. You take great pictures! John

    ReplyDelete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is the second time I am looking at this post and I still "gush" over those baby Black-necked Stilt photos. Outstanding stuff!

    ReplyDelete