Baby black necked stilts in the ditch.

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Black necked stilt couple in the muck.

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What are they looking at?

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A baby black neck stilt.

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Baby was wandering around in the puddles.

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“Mom???”

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A little bit older baby. Almost as big as the parent but his legs aren’t pink yet.

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He was walking around looking for food.

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Reflection in the water.

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The water was really low in the ditch by work. This was early July before the rainy season had started. I had seen a black neck stilt family on my way to lunch one day and brought my camera to work the next day. After work I stopped at the ditch and realized there were several black neck stilt families. I think this was a record number of stilts in this ditch. All of these were taken from the car window and cropped. If I opened the door they would freak out and the parents would fly away. They are very skittish birds so I just sat in the car, took a few pictures and left.

Babies after work.

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I stopped by the lake close by work for a quick walk before the rain came down. Half way around the lake I saw this black necked stilt.

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He stopped for a rest.

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A few feet over in the mud, there was another stilt with 3 babies.

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They must have only been a few days old.

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I sat on the grass behind a tree and watched them for a few minutes. The parent started to doze off and the kids were running around exploring.

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The lake was pretty dry and the babies were far out. These are all extremely cropped with my 300mm lens.

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Look at those muddy feet!

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The other parent flew in for a few minutes then took off again.

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Then he was back again after flying half way around the lake.

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Why does this parent have 6 legs?  Two of the babies were hiding underneath.

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One of the babies ventured back out and started walking around again.

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Then the other baby came out but stayed close to the parent.

I sat behind the tree for about half an hour and then the sun was going down behind the buildings. The joggers and dog walkers probably thought I was crazy. They didn’t realize I could see these tiny babies across the lake. I hope all 3 of them make it. There are alligators in this lake and hawks flying overhead. My plan is to check back in a few weeks.

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Baby black necked stilts at the waste plant.

“Life is good so far.”

“Who is that bird in the water?”

“Gotta itch.”

“What do you want, crazy lady with the black thing stuck to your face?”

Yes, I work really close to a large waste-to-energy plant. There are water run off ditches that run along side of the waste plant. The advantage to this is that there are always birds in the ditches. On my way to get lunch I usually keep my eye open for anything interesting hanging around. Every spring the ditches are home to a handful of black necked stilts. Last year, we had several babies so I kept my eyes open this year.  One night, a couple of weeks ago, I drove slowly along the road and noticed two parents together. I pulled off on the grass and saw the babies. They were only a few days to a week old. Unfortunately, it had been cloudy and rainy for several days so it was tough to get good sunny pictures of the babies. Plus, they stay pretty far over on the other side of the ditch and this family was right in front of the entrance to the waste plant so I stayed in my car and took these out the window. I usually stay inside anyway because these stilts are pretty skittish and I didn’t want to freak them out. I took a handful of pictures and left. Time to go home.

Camera Critters

Black neck stilt with his reflection

These were taken a few weeks ago at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland.  The black necked stilts usually stay far away from the trails. In the past, I have only seen them way out across the marsh. For some reason on this morning, one of them was feeding very close to the trail. Right in front of the main intersection. He stayed busy not paying attention to the long line of photographers taking pictures of him. He kept getting closer and closer.  I was glad it was a nice clear morning and not a ripple on the water.

Camera Critters