Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wandering Black-necked Stilts

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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