Can you imagine going through life with ridiculously long red legs?
It’s not often that I devote a Beyond The Backyard blog post exclusively to one bird. But after spending the morning at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, I had a ton of great images of Black-Necked Stilts. They are all over!
I found a nest that was very close to the trail. When I first arrived, one bird was sitting on the nest, and the other was close by. I was so excited to find such a photographable nest that I stayed there for a long time, before realizing that if I drove the car up just a little more, around a bend, then I could get the best sun angle. Oh well. Live and learn.
I sorta liked this pose from the less-than-optimal light angle, but the colors in the original shot were fairly poor. Then I realized that it was a good silhouette image and a candidate for Fractalius. So I experimented some and came up with this image (the pattern in the background is because I’m using the free download version):
I liked this pose of the bird stretching his wings, and I like the symmetry of the diagonal mudflat showing through the water. (The water was waaaay low today. We need rain so badly!!)
Each time I’m out with Dyeyo photographing stilts, he reminds me that he was able to get closer to them at the Circle B Bar Reserve. So I chuckled and thought of him as this guy let me drive right up next to him to get this head shot:
I took a little video of the stilt tending to her nest. With her long legs, she’s a little awkward as she gets up and down from the nest. But I laughed out loud when I watched her use her folded-up legs behind her to turn the eggs. She’s not exactly graceful, but she’s effective!
Cross your fingers — hopefully there will be babies next weekend when I go back! :)
Want to learn more about nature photography at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge?
Check out my Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!
Great images of the stilts, Jess. Good news in that there is already at least one chick hatched over there. I hope to get over there either one afternoon this week or Saturday.
Merritt Island NWR is such a wonderful birding location! I am a new birder/Floridian, and just found your blog and love it! Keep up the good work!
Thanks, Alison! Welcome to Florida.