Thursday, April 05, 2007

Leggy Ladies in Pink Stockings

So tall and delicate and graceful, even when poorly photographed.

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.

I call this photo "Gorgeous Stilt and Extraneous Minutiae." OK they're semiplamated sandpipers.


At 11:02 PM, Blogger Susan Gets Native said...

Yep, a caveman. Do you drag Julie around by her hair, too?

At 8:40 AM, Anonymous [email protected] said...

I love the photo of the black-neck walking between the sandpipers! What a difference between little legs and big legs!

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Jayne said...

Wow, just look at those legs! Very cool bird!

BTW, Happy Belated B'day! (I turned 45 myself March 1st.)

At 9:26 AM, Blogger SylvanB said...

I love how the stilt-among-peeps has her knees and calves modestly together, just like we were taught in junior high dance class. Clearly a lady.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Rondeau Ric said...

Jeepers peepers where'd you get those legs?

At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Bill....

Just saw my first black neck stilt today, on Merritt Island!



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