Tuesday, June 2, 2009

One-legged Sandpiper on Navarre Beach

Most sandpipers move fast across the sand. This one was no exception. What set it apart from the others was its peculiar bobbing. I had not yet noticed it had only one leg. It was the bobbing that caught my attention. The bodies of the others glide in a straight line while their agile black legs skit beneath them in scissor-like fashion. The object of my attention required a slight duck of head & neck and a forward bounce of back with each pace---a tiny sort of hop. It looked more like a wavy run than a hop, and fast. This bird did not appear to be handicapped in any way. It kept to speed, its balance was sure, it was not lacking in size or color, and it appeared to be as adept as the others at digging insects with its long beak in the sand. Indeed, this observer took long seconds of careful study to see that only one leg propelled and supported this bird and was the reason for its bobbing.

One other thing of note: this bird was a loner---isolated from the others by some distance. I wonder if by chance, choice, or discrimination.

I was on a beach walk with Moe, who arrived today for the weekend and to fix the toilet for my keep. dkm

No comments: