Just sitting here waiting around for Linda to get done with her cardio-rehab session. Hard to believe she only has one more session in her three month recovery plan. All is going well and I’m excited to say she has elected to give up all the stress and strain of the corporate world and finally enjoy life to the fullest in her retirement. Good heart, good feeling and a great husband what more can you hope for (okay, I snuck in that last one hehehe). The other good news I am thrilled to mention is we will once again be heading back to the Texas Gulf Coast for some fun in the sun – translated – BIRDING! Time to fill up the hoppers for the coming blogging year – who am I kidding, you probably won’t see those finds until at least 2 or 3 years from now. The best part is Ron will be joining us this time. Good for him, very bad for our bird list challenge as I made up some serious ground thanks to the treasure trove of birds down there. Competition aside, it is always fun to bird with him so definitely looking forward to it. Until then, I’ll continue to chip away at the last of the 2016/2017 haul. For instance, this adorable creature.
Hit the jump to read a bit more about this skinny Panda.
We have travel plans right after her cardio session, so went with a quick one today. There are a few birds out there that just make you feel good when you encounter them out in the field. The Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher is at the tops of that list. Admittedly a bit shocked as I went to link back to that bird in a previous post only to find out I have yet to get that bird posted – you will have to trust me on that until I get that taken care of. The other bird is the Black-Necked Stilt. Not a new bird to the blog as it was featured all the way back in May 2012 (link here) and then again in May 2017 (link here). Seems I broke my string of posting about this long legged beauty in the month of May. Those previous posts featured specimens from one of our local birding hotspots, Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge. A mere 45 minutes away to reclaimed waterways that draws migrants like roadkill to a Vulture. Seems like three days of travel to Texas is a bit excessive to get another specimen in the tin as this one comes to us from the back parts of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge outside of South Padre Island. Ron already has this bird so no danger in him picking this one when we head back there together.
I haven’t decided if it is the pink legs that models would kill for, the crisp/clean black and white color palette, the delicate bill, the illusion it looks like a Panda or all of the above that brings so much enjoyment when I spot these tall shorebirds in the field. It might also be the fact it is one of the first birds I actually purposely went into the field to find when I decided to kick this whole birding thing into a higher gear way back then. Either way it holds a special place with me.
As anyone familiar with birds would quickly guess, the Stilts use their long legs and purpose built bill to probe for invertebrates in the shallow waters. If you take a look at their region maps you will notice they tend to hang out in the southern portions of North American, heavy into Central America and then large patches mostly year round in South America. Ironically, they do not range them anywhere near Illinois yet we have seen them every year at Emiquon – it isn’t even in their migration paths so thinking they just enjoy taking quick trips to the heartland to experience field after field of corn and beans – then again, who wouldn’t ha.
Cornell’s site notes these birds can be quite vocal (they used “vociferous”, but that just sounds too snooty of word for this working man’s blog). In the field I find them to be extremely quiet and deliberate in their hunting. Admittedly, they do get a bit mouthy when they are disturbed – think high pitched sharp yapping. Cornell also referenced a term I was unfamiliar with – “popcorn displaying”. When a ground predator comes to close a number of them will descend and start “jumping, hopping and flapping” to drive it away. My immediate read from that is the ground predator must immediately be thinking multi-course meal. Will note that and see if I can get some shots in the tin for you. Guessing this is similar to the “mobbing” smaller birds do to drive off Hawks and such when they get too close to their nests – now that I have seen.
Well, looks like Linda is all done, so better wrap this up. Hope you enjoyed this quick post on Mr. Pinkie Legs – so adorable.