Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.
These birds make me smile! They have such a friendly face, but their walk is awkward…. and….stilted. Probably because they’re trying not to disturb the water as they hunt for food.
“The Black-necked Stilt forages by probing and gleaning primarily in mudflats and lakeshores, but also in very shallow waters near shores; it seeks out a range of aquatic invertebrates – mainly crustaceans and other arthropods, and mollusks – and small fish, tadpoles and very rarely plant seeds. Its mainstay food varies according to availability; inland birds usually feed mainly on aquatic insects and their larvae, while coastal populations mostly eat other aquatic invertebrates. For feeding areas they prefer coastal estuaries, salt ponds, lakeshores, alkali flats and even flooded fields. For roosting and resting needs, this bird selects alkali flats (even flooded ones), lake shores, and islands surrounded by shallow water.” ~ Wikipedia
For this shoot I met photographer, and friend Marianne Bush out at Radio Road which is part of Redwood Shores Reserves. After we shot around the lagoon for a while we walked over to a channel that feeds the lagoon where Marianne had spied a Bufflehead while we were driving in. An aquatic bird in the Sea Duck family that has been on my list for sometime. The Bufflehead was no longer there, but we did see this little duck below. Both Marianne and I were very excited because neither one of us had seen this bird before. Marianne being the much more experienced birder had an idea of what breed it might be. When we left we were both anxious to get into our bird books to see if we could identify it.
Marianne was able to ID it faster than I did. She wrote to tell me we had seen a Blue Winged Teal! Very uncommon on the West Coast. You can image how thrilled we both were. A month later looking at this photo I can still feel that thrill of excitement one gets when seeing a new species for the first time.
Nikon D300s| Nikkor 300mm f4 @ f5.6| 1/800 sec| ISO 200| Manual Mode| On a Tripod