Today as I was driving from the north end of City Park on Marconi up to the lakefront, I noticed a Black-necked Stilt in the air over the Marconi canal.
Wondering whether some shorebird habitat may have evolved along the canal edge*, I pulled over and scampered up over the levee to look at the area. There was no decent habitat- though three Black-necked Stilts were on the rock-reinforced shore (they are usually birds of marshy shallows).
They promptly flew off together, spooked by my presence, heading over Lake Vista (could have been a great flyover yard bird for somebody!)
These birds were probably just wandering in the area- something many species do in late summer. They nest commonly in marshes just outside of town- like at Bayou Sauvage NWR. These three settled in marginal habitat, probably having a hard time finding a decent spot in the urban matrix. Even if I hadn't flushed them, they probably wouldn't have stayed for long.
*finding shorebirds away from the immediate coast is usually an exercise in sleuthing out where the habitat is good at any particular time- the product of recent rainpool formation, drying of ponds, etc. Sites are transient, often holding birds for several weeks or even months, but being completely unsuitable the next year. I was hoping the stilt had given away a hidden shorebird hotspot, but no luck.
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