Our birding outing this past week was to the Estero Soldado, east and west side, and the Empalme Estuary. There was an abundance of shorebirds including the Bird of the Week: the Black-necked Stilt.
This is a very aptly named bird because, as you can see from the photo, he is so long-legged it looks like he is on stilts. Because he is so distinctive, he is quite easy to identify (a fact not to be underappreciated.) The bright pink legs help. According to iBird Pro, Stilts have the second-longest legs in proportion to their bodies of any bird, exceeded only by flamingos. They feed in both salt and fresh water on half-webbed feet that allow them to swim. However, we have never seen them swim and iBird Pro says it is rare for them to do so.
We usually see them in estuaries and almost always in a group. They winter here but are year-round not too far south of us. They like to eat tadpoles, mollusks, water beetles and other aquatic insects, snails, small fish, flying insects, and seeds. In other words, they are not finicky.
This Thursday, we will meet as always at the Esterito Cafe at the end of Bahía San Carlos at 8:00am. All are welcome. Please bring binoculars, and if you have room in your car, folding chairs can come in handy. We will be birding on the west side of San Carlos this week.
by Mary Tannehill