Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 05/05/2015

Photo taken on May  4, 2015


Frank Lake
SE of Calgary
shore bird
Black-necked Stilt
Himantopus mexicanus
side view
Family: Recurvirostridae

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Black-necked Stilt

Black-necked Stilt
Yesterday, 4 May 2015, we finally had a day without strong winds. I decided that it might be a good day to drive SE of the city again to see what I could find. The last few times I had been there recently, the wind had been so strong, making it almost impossible to take photos.

The very first thing I saw when I reached the gravel road off 23 at Frank Lake, was a beautiful male Western Meadowlark, perched on a fence post. I only see one occasionally, though yesterday I did see a second one later in the afternoon.

At, or near, the bird blind/hide, there were a few Eared Grebes, Coots, Canada Geese, numerous and noisy Franklin's Gulls, a Ruddy Duck, a few Yellow-headed and Red-winged Blackbirds, several Western Grebes (further away and barely within camera range) and American Avocets. White-faced Ibis were either down on the ground in the distance or flying around, mixed in with the Franklin's Gulls.

After visiting the blind, I drove around the lake, seeing the second Meadowlark and, to my delight, a pair of Long-billed Curlews that were extremely well-camouflaged with the stubble and dried grasses in a field. I'm sure I have seen one before, probably through someone's scope, but never really "seen" one properly. Managed to get a few shots, though the birds don't show up very clearly.

Along one of the roads, friend Greg passed me, going in the same direction. He stopped briefly and said he was on his way to help mutual friend, George. A few hours later, I saw a photo on Facebook of the predicament that George had found himself in. When I say his vehicle was stuck in deep mud, I really mean STUCK, lol! Not sure how he managed to find such wet, muddy ground, as everywhere else is bone dry. Well done, George! The things we birders/photographers sometimes go through to get photos!

At the end of the lake drive, I decided to drive north on the Blackie road, stopping at one of the sloughs there, where I was able to get photos of the American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts (seen in this photo. Of course, the background would have been far better if the birds had been in the water, but I was just happy to see them. So, all in all, an enjoyable, quite rewarding afternoon, spent in one of my favourite areas. And no wind, which felt wonderful!

"A striking black-and-white bird with very long, thin red legs, the Black-necked Stilt is found along the edges of shallow water in open country." From AllAboutBirds.