Barefootin’ Into Summer

This Aardman Animation of Robert Parker’s classic song
is filled with delightful visual puns ~ can you find them?

Dry sand, asphalt, concrete, and teak decks are baking in our current August-like temperatures, making one of summer’s greatest pleasures — barefootin’ — a sometimes painful proposition.

But at the water’s edge, barefootin’ birds have taken Robert Parker’s soulful advice; they may not have shoes to kick off, but they’re on their feet, dancing into summer despite the heat. Scroll through the photos while listening to the song, and tell me they’re not!

Kildeer (Charadrius vociferus)
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)
White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)
Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla)


Comments always are welcome.

58 thoughts on “Barefootin’ Into Summer

  1. Great shots, Linda. You can tell its summer here when all the Mennonite kids start to go barefoot.

    1. I suspect you have better grass for barefootin’, too. I grew up with primarily Kentucky Bluegrass: so soft and silky we couldn’t wait to wiggle our toes into it. It took a while to become accustomed to Bermuda and Zoysia, and the other prickly lawn grasses down here.

    1. Love it! I’m a huge Aardman fan. Wonderful collection of bird photographs. I hope the high heat doesn’t hold for the entire summer. Yikes! Funny, it’s been cool and a little rainy in Maine, more like the Junes I remember. Must say, this is my kind of weather.

      1. I enjoyed Aardman’s work long before I knew the name of the company — Wallace and Gromit comes to mind. I’m glad you enjoyed the birds; they certainly know how to “summer.” As for our high heat, it’s the very definition of summer here. Once it sets in, it won’t leave until late September or so. That crowd of people staring toward the north in September or October are coastal Texans, looking for the first cold front.

    1. It’s a tune perfectly designed to get feet tapping. I’ve danced to it a time or two dozen, and always enjoyed it. There was a time in the ’70s you couldn’t go to the beach without hearing it playing on someone’s boom box: probably because the beach is a perfect place for barefootin’.

  2. The wading birds are such elegant folk. I’m barefooting as I type. Our high today was 107, and the floor beside the wall unit is rather chilly on bare tootsies.

    1. At 107F, I believe I’d keep my tootsies on a chilly inside floor, too. We’ve had heat indices creeping up to that level, but we’re at a pleasant 88/93 just now, and the dog walkers are out in force. Lacking a beach or a shore, two of my doves presently are standing ankle deep in the water bowl: wading bird wanna-be’s.

  3. A fun post with excellent photography. In the very hot summers of 1976/7 I walked around London Barefootin’ – I well remember the burning pavements.

    1. In the summers of 1976/7 I still was walking around Liberia. I wasn’t barefoot, but a good number of people were. One advantage of laterite roads is their relative coolness when compared to pavement. Of course, when I got to Berkeley in late ’77, there were innumerable barefoot flower children who probably weren’t aware of the pavement’s heat.

    1. I’ll bet! I’m old enough now that my tolerance for sand in my clothes, car, hair, and so on has decreased significantly, but I still enjoy sand between my toes.

    1. Birdbath, bay shore, or Gulf, they’re all seeking water now; it’s good that gardeners and others help to provide what’s needed where nature can’t.

  4. I love this! It reminds me of a summer encounter with a hawk several years ago. Another photographer saw me approaching and waved me closer. When I arrived he pointed out a hawk not too far off the trail just standing in a puddle of water. It didn’t appear to be injured and it appeared fully aware and was looking around every so often, but it seemed perfectly content to just stand in the cool water. Later I saw it fly away, confirming it wasn’t injured, or at least not enough to prevent graceful flight. Seems it just needed a break from the heat.

    1. I often have birds take a break in the water bowl I put out: just standing around like your hawk. Mallards will do it, too. When my apartment complex turns on the sprinklers twice a week, puddles will form and last for a couple of hours in the morning, and it’s not unusual to see a duck or two taking advantage of them. I hope you got some nice photos of your hawk.

      Here’s an odd fact: turkey vultures will urinate on their legs and feet to cool themselves in summer.

    1. Thanks, Becky! Sometimes it’s fun to do a little diving into the archives, to make use of images that have achieved “out of sight, out of mind” status.

    1. One of the advantages of my work is that I can remove my shoes from time to time, especially if I’m working at the far end of a pier where only the birds will see me. I know spring has arrived when it’s warm enough to take them off, and summer has come when the decks become so hot I have to put them back on.

  5. Well, my mind went immediately to Wallace & Gromit. All-time favorite.

    Growing up in central Florida, we were barefoot more often than not. The community park a block away was a great place to play football, except it had some patches of sandspurs that left more than a few of us wounded. Tough little kids developed tough little feet.

    Still, today with my age-tenderized tootsies, I’ll kick off the shoes at the beach and an audible sigh escapes my lips as soon as that water washes over them.

    Beautifully photographed birds, a summer earworm, memories of barefootin’. Summer has arrived.

    1. We always knew summer vacation was well and truly underway when we could ride our bikes barefooted. There wasn’t a lot of barefootin’ going on in Iowa during the winter, but summer? You bet.

      Eventually, I moved to Texas, saw the Gulf, and the rest is history. I became a connoisseur of sand, and barefooted my way through a good portion of the Caribbean. I’ll not be doing that again, but a bit more Florida wouldn’t be bad.

  6. Always a treat to view your photographs. Reminds me how important it to protect our wildlife habitats.

    1. It is important — and not just for the creatures. It’s good for us to have an occasional interaction with the natural world, too; even a single squirrel can do it!

  7. While I certainly remember the song, I had never seen the animation to accompany it. Lots of fun. And lots of fun seeing all your birds with a few “high” steppin’ their barefootin’ themselves.

    1. I saw something else in the video just now that added to the fun. Between 0:21 and 0:24, there’s the Hand Jive, just like Willy would have done it. For a blast from the past, how about this 1958 version? That would have been my 7th grade year… and, yes. We all knew how to hand jive.

  8. Wonderful shots, Linda — and these birdies do look like they’re enjoying kicking up some water with their bare feet! How enticing that water is, too — perfect for summer fun!

    1. Everyone likes water in the summer. We ran through sprinklers or played in plastic wading pools. Today, there are splash pads everywhere for the kids. I wonder if they still open the fire hydrants for city kids? Probably not. But water’s a delight, and even the birds clearly love it.

  9. What a cute animation and great photos to illustrate the theme. Signed, Robert Parker But Not The Barefootin’ One! (around here it’s “Snowshoein’ Into Spring”)

    1. I thought this one might flush you into the open — not only because of the shared name, but also because you enjoy all kinds of creativity, and the Aardman crew is the best. It looks as though you’ll be well past snowshoein’ by midweek. We do love to share our heat, and from what I can see we’ll be sending you some!

  10. Very sprightly looking birds. Birds always do.
    Lots of people go bare footing here too. It is winter here now and the temperature is struggling to get above 10C, yet one sees mainly men going around in shorts, T-shirts and barefooted or rubber thongs. Perhaps they eat huge meals that now get served up at Cafes.

    1. Your mention of people willing to brave 10C in shorts and tees reminded me of a fellow who years ago would prowl one of our marinas year round with bare feet and short in temperatures far lower. He was some sort of engineer at NASA, and we always teased him about being smart enough to do his job but not smart enough to put shoes on in freezing weather.

      To be honest, 10C in winter is about perfect. I think of it as good working weather, that’s for sure — although I keep my shoes on.

  11. That was great! Starting on May 1st we used to “toughen” our feet up by running up & down our gravel driveway. I can’t even imagine such a thing today – I’m such a delicate flower. Ha!

    1. I remember that foot-toughening process. Like you, I’m not so inclined to run the gravel roads today, but I still love going barefoot, and in the right circumstances, it’s one of summer’s greatest pleasures.

  12. Fun stuff. I’ve been a fan of Aardman Animation since before Wallace and Gromit. Summer hasn’t really hit here yet, but it’s been very wet. I’m not sure which is worse, excessive rain or excessive heat, but I suspect the birds would prefer the rain.

    1. Given a forced choice, I suspect the birds would take the rain, too. On the other hand, they seem a bit human-like in their preference for mild temperatures and nice breezes. There’s no question they sing more when conditions are exactly the ones we enjoy.

  13. This song is the best way to start my morning and wake me up! Always liked the song but have never seen the video — it’s wonderful. (And so are the pix! Love that ibis!)

    1. It is a toe-tapper, isn’t it? I’d not seen the video until a few months ago, but I was charmed by it, and I’m not surprised you enjoyed it, too. It’s one of those that repays multiple viewings; they tuck a lot of subtle fun into the corners!

    1. I didn’t catch that ‘division’ until maybe the second or third time I watched. The other great line comes at the beginning, when the visual accompanying the line “Take off your shoes and tap your feet” is a foot coming out of a water tap. Wouldn’t it have been fun to work on the team that developed the video?

  14. Your temperatures sound dreadful. I did enjoy seeing all these birds, delightful, especially the heron, I do have a soft spot for

    1. I found a rookery right in my neighborhood, filled with Black Crowned Night Herons and Great Egrets. I have a few photos, but the nests are high in leafy trees, but I’m going to try for more photos as soon as the Saharan dust clears out. I have some decent photos of the egret chicks, but I’m going to try for better ones of the herons. I’ve never found a rookery before!

    1. Don’t we all! Just now, I have a pair of gray squirrels that have taken up residence in the water bowl. They’re just sitting there. The birds are not amused.

  15. I never thought of a kildeer as a coast bird. We have them around here. One nested in the gravel of the shop drive the year before the dog showed up. She hatched 4 babies and I swear as soon as they broke out of their shells and dried off they were on their feet and running.

    1. Oh, that spell check. I fixed it up for you. I see the kildeer at all of the refuges, and I once saw one with babies running a parking lot in West Columbia. The babies always make me laugh. They look to me like golf balls on legs, and fast? Oh, my goodness! They’re pretty, too, and I love listening to their calls when they fly.

  16. What a great pick-me-up as I try to catch up on some blog postings. The song, which I am listening to right now, is putting me in a great mood as my Sunday winds down. Bring on the summer fun, though I am not quite ready for the heat and humidity.

    1. I’ve enjoyed the song since it was introduced so many years ago, and finding the animation to go with it was a real plus. There’s nothing wrong with a toe tap and a smile — especially if we have to deal with heat and humidity!

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