Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Godwits - with a difference.

A few years back I had a holiday in Washington State in the USA. One of the specially nice things I did was to go out to the west coast to see the migrating shorebirds. It was August and the birds were migrating south after breeding up in the far north. We traveled to the Grays Harbor area and I think these photos were taken at Tokeland.
We walked out on one of the piers. On one side the Godwits were walking and feeding in the shallow water and on the other side they were all lined up along another pier that was not in use.
These are not the Bar-tailed Godwits I know and see out here (in SE Queensland, Australia) but are Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa). As far as I know they are from the sub-race beringiae which breeds in Alaska and winters down in California. (I hope this is right - my books are not detailed about the species in North America.) It was fascinating to see these birds which looked similar to the Bar-tailed Godwits I know out here but which were quite a different color. The bill also looks straighter than that of the Bar-tailed Godwits.
As we stood watching on the pier there were more flying in to some other roost site a little to the west of us.
I was told that there are even greater numbers of shorebirds seen during a shorter period during the migration northwards. This migration starts around April 21 and continues for about 3 weeks. It would be great to be there during that time and to see so many birds all using the area to feed and rest.
This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

21 comments:

  1. It'd be fun to be in one spot to see them depart and then head to the next to see them arrive. (When we're all millionaires, maybe!)

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  2. Hi Snail, I like the idea!

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  3. What an amazing sight.
    You get a real feeling of place when you enlarge the second picture.
    You'll have to go back there in the Spring, won't you :-)

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  4. That's quite a gathering Mick. A great sight to see.

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  5. Terrific captures Mick. I envy you your American experience, If only I were able to fly, I'd be back there like a shot with my present camera not a b&w Yashika twin reflex that I had when we lived in Canada.

    I was thrilled to see so many emus in our wet spring, I'll be posting some more another time. They seemed to have staggered nesting as most of the groups had adult sized young and on we just glimpsed with the chicks still stripy like wild piglets.

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  6. Looks like a grand trip. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  7. Beautiful birds to see and you really have got them in good numbers. Great to see.

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  8. I saw many of these birds last week while visiting at Monerey Bay. There were other species in evidence as well but most were the marbled godwits.

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  9. HUGE number on the pier--would love to see this migration. I live in the US and have not been There--trip envy- and good for you!!

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  10. Its always Godwits, with you, Mick.
    Even across the other side of the Pacific.
    I confess to not knowing there were different species. Interesting that they presumably share breeding grounds with ours, but keep themselves separate (as species, I mean). Or maybe ours go to a different patch of Tundra to breed?
    Cheers
    Denis

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  11. Thanks to all for commenting.

    Hi Denis, yes as far as I can see from the rather small maps in my birding book they go to different parts of Alaska. I think the Bar-tailed Godwits are much further north.

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  12. Hi - its Godwit week!!

    If the one you photographed a few years aog had an organge flag its one of ours! (Not mine, only only banded the ones in the post)

    If you have time the most recent post in my other blog has more pictures and information about "our" Godwits and there migration.
    http://payingreadyattention.blogspot.com/

    Cheers Stewart M

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  13. Hi Mick - glad you enjoyed the post.

    Recording any flagged birds you see on route North is a way to be involved (but I dont think thats what you want!)

    The group I band with (Victorian Wader Study Group) has banded terns in QLD, but I am not sure if they still do.

    You could have a look at the web site: http://home.vicnet.net.au/~vwsg/
    to contact the leaders of the team and find out about submitting records or being involved in some other way.

    Cheers - Stewart M

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  14. What an experience to see so many Marbled Godwits all at once! I have been lucky to see just one at a time on rare occasions. Good post!

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  15. Amazing sight to see so many shorebirds massed together! Great series of photos!

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  16. Great report! I saw a marbeled Godwit in Florida recently but it was flying solo. Excellent photos to, sounds like you had a great trip!

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  17. it looks cool when they line up like that. :)

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  18. I just love their long beaks, they look so cute! Wonderful shots.

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  19. Those are lovely pictures and of course the kind of godwits we're familiar with (because we lived in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon) for years (pre-retirement). That was a good place to visit for birding!

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  20. Mick, as usual you take amazing photos of large groups of shorebirds.

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