Bar-tailed Godwit-yes-5/4/05, Tigertail
- Hi everybody,
The Godwit that Bryant Roberts photographed and that was identified by the Ornithologists Wayne Petersen (formerly of MA Audubon) and Brian Harrington (Manomet Observatory, MA) from the photos as a Bar-tailed Godwit was seen today at Tigertail Beach about 2:30 pm. d
Initially, it was seen with one other Godwit (alternate plumaged Marbled). As time went on, other Godwits (all Marbled, either alternate plumage or 1st summer plumaged) joined them. When this Godwit was next to the breeding plumage Marbled, its "runt" or smaller stature was quite evident both in body bulk and height. When next to a Willet, it was just the tinest bit taller.
The birds were on a sandbar and then the smaller Godwit took a very short bath. It walked directly opposite to where I was sitting on the sand on the opposite shore and turned its back to me. As it preened its feathers after the bath, it fanned its tail four times. Each time it fanned its tail, the beautiful black and white thin barring was obvious.
I hoped that the Godwit would raise its wings so I could see the underwing. It didn't. I hoped that it would do a wing stretch so I could see the wing pattern. It didn't.
It tucked its bill into its scapulars and on one leg fell asleep. For quite a while.
In the meantime, I got bored watching it sleep and after 10 minutes I started looking about at all the other birds always returning to the Bar-tailed. I wanted to see it in flight if possible. About 30 minutes after it fell asleep, when I looked back to where it had been, it was no longer there. I wasn't able to relocate it.
On my way back to the parking lot, prior to crossing the lagoon, I saw two Short-billed Dowitchers of the griseus race. In South Florida, we usually have the hendersoni race so these griseus were a really pleasant surprise.
Hope others get out to see this Bar-tailed Godwit and document its field marks in flight.
A really big thank you to Bryant Roberts for his discovery of this Tigertail Godwit. His photos were absolutely tremendous. Really nice that Wayne Petersen, my shorebird mentor, and Brian ("Flight of the Red Knot"-a great book) Harrington were able to take the time and trouble to give their opinion of the id.
Many hundreds of both Hudsonian and Marbled Godwit under my belt, but its my life Bar-tailed.
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