Leggy Ladies in Pink Stockings
Tonight's post is a tribute to the beauty and undeniable charm of the black-necked stilt.
I don't know why it is that I think there's only one gender of black-necked stilt (female). Could it be their overall slender, sleek proportions? Or is it the contrasting black and white 'make-up' on the face? No, surely it's the dainty way they pick gently at insects and aquatic life with their finely pointed bills.
I think it might be the legs. Long, thin, and bright pink, yet strong enough and long enough to let stilts forage on mudflats or in thigh-deep water and still look graceful doing it.
The black-neck stilt reminds me of my grandmother, Margaret Miller Thompson, who taught high-school English for 43 year in our local public schools. She was always a lady, in every situation. Graceful, soft-spoken, well-dressed, articulate, and exhibiting perfect manners. They don't seem to make people like that anymore.
Now before you label me a sexist pig, and a throwback caveman, let me say that I am applying the word "lady" here in much the same way one would say a nice man was a "gentleman." Such folks always look great, behave politely, appear composed, and brighten any room they enter.
And this is how I see black-necked stilts. They add class to any gathering of birds.
I was at a local park near Weslaco, Texas, last week, and the group I was helping to lead came upon a large slough full of shorebirds and waterfowl. There were long-billed dowitchers, least and western sandpipers, blue-winged and green-winged teal, shovelers, American wigeon, and gadwalls aplenty. And then there were the stilts. Just two or three—but I could not take my eyes off of them.
It's a treat every time I get to see black-necked stilts. I can't seem to get enough of their "feminine" charm. Next time you're looking at some stilts, see if you agree.
Or, it could be that I AM just a simple caveman, confused and bewildered by the world's modern ways.