I stopped in at Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge on my way to Malheur in hopes of seeing the Black-Necked Stilt I’d seen there last year, only to discover that there are no ponds open to the general public, at least not until hunting season when most of the range is open on hunting days only. Disappointed and frustrated, it seemed unlikely that I would see any on this trip.
Luckily, I found them at the ponds right outside Malheur, both on the way in and on the way out. Last year I was struck by their brilliant black and white colors and red legs. But once I saw them foraging, I realized immediately where their name comes from.
Just look at the weird looking right leg:
It’s also obvious when they’re wading in shallow water,
and even more when you see them next to a flock of yellowlegs and a Wilson’s Phalarope:
Malheur is definitely a birder’s delight.