Shorebird of the prairies
I first read about this most graceful of sandpipers when I read Aldo Leopold’s “Sand County Almanac” in college (~ 1971). When the almanac gets to the month of May, Writing in the 1940s, he called it the Upland Plover – ornithology has since updated it to the more accurate Sandpiper. But, the grace he describes in “Back from the Argentine” has not changed. Their flight song, their habit of raising their wings from a fencepost perch and their every proportion set it apart from all of the other shorebirds. I have not sen it enough. I spnt a few days looking expressly for it in our Fort Edward Grasslands earlier this year (2013) but to no avail. Being an Easterner, I have only been in its presence a few times – but its delicate grace is unforgttable.
This carving – done in my “mantelpiece” style – has gone to a nephew and his new bride. I am sure I will carve more of this species – its gracefulness is both compelling and too elusive in a single posture.