The curse of the wildlife photographer

This post is also available in: Dutch.

The duck's telltale, good for the duck, bad for the photographer!

Often, while trying to move as stealthy as possible in order to shoot that one perfect picture of some rare wading bird, this bird vocalization informs me irritatingly that my efforts will be in vain for at least the coming hour. The bird responsible for this alarm sound is the Black winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus). As a result of its call, all birds in the vicinity will take to the wing, except the caller him or herself.

In papiamentu the bird is known by two names. One is ‘makamba’, which is the local term for a person from the Netherlands, because of its bright pink legs which look like the legs of a Dutch tourist who spent way too much time in the sun. The other name is Kaweta di Patu, which translates loosely into duck’s telltale. And that is exactly what this bird is. It seems to have 360º vision. It will pick up the sight of an approaching human, no matter how stealthy you might think you are. I’m sure the other birds consider this pink legged wader a blessing. Even alarms systems are implemented perfectly in nature!

Beautiful sight in flight









Leon Pors

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