Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bar-tailed Godwits

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

Holidays are great but it's also great to get home again! My return home was in time to see some of the shorebirds before they took off on their northern migration. This is the time when the birds look their best in bright new breeding colors.
I was out at Inskip Point very early in the morning on a high tide and was able to photograph some of the birds in a very large flock that was roosting there. I could have spent a lot more time photographing the birds but 4 wheel drive vehicles came out and soon the whole flock disturbed and flew off. It is legal for vehicles to drive out there - but - the roosting birds must find it a great nuisance to be disturbed.
As usual Bar-tailed Godwits made up most of the flock.
When I got close enough I could see that there were all shades of color amongst the flock.
Some were without any breeding colors. A bird looking like this will possibly be a young one and won't migrate this season.
This one had good bright color and from this back view you can see just how much fat they put on before migration.
The color was very patchy on some birds.
The birds with the brightest color seemed to want to hide amongst the flock. This bird had the brightest color of all that I photographed.
When the Godwits leave here they fly non-stop to the Yellow Sea area. This is a distance of approx. 10,300 Kms. They rest there for a month to 6 weeks and then make another non-stop flight to Alaska - a further distance of 6,500 Kms. They breed in Alaska and won't return here until September. This is another long flight of 11,700 Kms. and is also non-stop. These amazing flights were first documented in 2007 when birds were satellite tagged by scientists from New Zealand, Australia and the USGS. Details can be found here.

27 comments:

Gary said...

Beautiful shots!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

TexWisGirl said...

they are very handsome in their russet coloring! :)

Andrew said...

Wonderful birds to see..

eileeninmd said...

The Godwits are pretty and the rust colored ones are gorgeous. Wonderful sighting and photos.

Carole M. said...

Glad you got these wonderful photos. Isn't it just amazing how far they travel, and non-stop too is more amazing.

Carletta said...

No wonder they are all plumped up -that's a long trip to make.
I do like that fourth one showing all the color.
Beautiful shots!

Stewart M said...

They look so good when they pick up their breeding plumage.

Splendid shots.

Stewart M - Australia

Gillian Olson said...

Beautiful birds and I am amazed at the distances they fly non-stop.

Tyto Tony said...

Always good to get back home.

bailey-road.com said...

They're pretty birds. What an amazing journey they have before them!

heyBJK said...

Beautiful shots, Mick! The Godwits are gorgeous!

Phil said...

Great stuff Mick, pictures and information. People often dont realise the vast distances birds travel, not once but many times in their lives.

Hanne Bente said...

Great pictures you show.
Wishing you a good day.
Hanne Bente / hbt.finus.dk

NatureStop said...

Great captures Mike..they really look goog in their breeding plumage.Have a good day!

Shantana

FjÀllripan said...

Great shots of these beautiful birds!!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

These are magical, just exquisite images, showing great detail of feathers, colour, movement, I really, really love each of them very much. What photo program do you use and also camera setting used...masterful!

NatureFootstep said...

wonderful photos of those great birds. I can never see them upclose like that.

CameraCruise said...

Wonderful shots of the beautiful birds.
Thanks for sharing.

HansHB said...

Awesome serie of photos!

Tammy said...

It amazes me how far such a little creature can travel.

Springman said...

Fantastic shots with excellent focus. Inconceivable such a migration is possible...Wow!

missing moments said...

Beautiful birds and so informative!

Larry said...

Beautiful photos of the Bar-tailed Godwits Mick! Great information too. That's one heck of a long migration.

Midmarsh John said...

It really is amazing birds can make such long migration flights. Lovely set of photos, especially the final ones.

Debbie said...

i had no idea, that's quite some journey for these guys!!

gorgeous colors, wonderful close-ups!!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Wonderful closeups of the beautiful shorebirds Mick. No wonder you are happy to be home! We are used to Oregon beaches where there are no vehicles allowed ever. It really shocked us when we first went to other states that allow them. It just doesn't seem right. (I don't think Florida has drive on beaches either , come to think of it, not the ones we've visited anyway -- what they do have is too many people though ;>)

EG CameraGirl said...

Loved seeing all these godwits in one place!