I am back at the same spot near the Egret Trail where the Black-necked Stilts were frolicking. I noticed then that there were families of geese in the background feeding on the shoots of grass and I wanted to come back to try and capture a pastoral landscape photo. It’s Memorial Day. I am here during a quiet morning. It is peaceful as the geese stroll and graze their way through the low vegetation. The goslings wander here and there but not too far from their parents. Occasionally, the adults raise their heads and keep watch to protect their brood.
In the introduction to Florence Merriam Bailey’s book Birds through an Opera Glass she says, “When going to watch birds, provided with opera-glass [binoculars] and note-book and dressed in inconspicuous colors, proceed to some good birdy place,–the bushy bank of a stream or an old juniper pasture,–and sit down in the undergrowth or against a concealing tree-trunk, with your back to the sun, to look and listen in silence…Photography is coming to hold an important place in nature work, as its notes cannot be questioned, and the student who goes afield armed with opera-glass and camera will not only add more to our knowledge than he who goes armed with a gun, but will gain for himself a fund of enthusiasm and a lasting store of pleasant memories. For more than all the statistics is the sanity and serenity of spirit that comes when we step aside from the turmoil of the world to hold quiet converse with Nature.” The book was published in 1889. Mrs. Bailey was an ornithologist and a founding member of the Audubon Society in the District of Columbia. She had cutting-edge insight into the budding field of nature photography.
She also offers sage advice about the benefits nature has to offer. It is good to step aside from the turmoil of the world and find a “birdy place.” The Horicon Marsh is the perfect birdy place to relax in nature.
 Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey, Birds through an Opera Glass (Cleveland: The Chautauqua Press, 1889), iv-v.
A pair of Black-necked Stilts flew in and landed in the little water that remains near the Egret Trail on the auto tour. The three mile auto tour loop is located on the south side of Highway 49 near the city of Waupun. The popular boardwalk that normally resides here has been removed due to deterioration. It is expected to be rebuilt next year. Yay! The DNR is drawing down the water in this section to encourage native plant growth. That should attract more wildlife, which is great news for photographers. In the meantime, the Stilts enjoyed bathing,
eating small fish,
and other things.
They are comical,
and, at times, fluffy.
The female has brownish feathers in the dark areas while the male’s feathers are completely black in the dark areas. Their long pink legs and distinctive color pattern make them an easy shorebird to identify.