Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Marbled Godwit

I spent the day last Saturday walking around Bayocean Spit. It was my third trip there and I enjoy it for the long walk, diverse environment and birds. I arrive early and walk the beach first to take advantage of the good morning light. I don't usually see a lot of birds along this stretch, but this time I got some great close looks at a couple of Heermann's Gulls and ran into a very cooperative mix of shorebirds comprised of Semipalmated Plovers, Western Sandpipers and Sanderlings.
Walking the bay side back is usually more exciting with a variety of water fowl, gulls and passeriformes. However this time it was slower, I believe partly because it was high tide and partly because I got there later than normal because of time I spent with the gulls and shorebirds.
But, as happens more often than one would consider coincidence, I got a treat just as I was coming to the end of my hike.
There was a crowd of people ahead on the trail looking down at the water. The land rises up above the water some 20 feet at that point. At first I thought they were looking at a flock of California Gulls on a small mudflat, but as I got closer it turned out that there was a large flock of shorebirds. When I caught up with the group (turned out they were on a field trip sponsored by the Tillamook Audubon Society) they told me that there was a Baird's Sandpiper in among the Western and Least Sandpipers. I started scanning for it when I saw this large shorebird wading in the water off to the side. I quickly focused my camera on it and someone told me it was a Marbled Godwit. A new life bird for me. It was quite a ways away from me, but luckily I had the rented 400mm lens with a 1.7 teleconverter. It zoomed in pretty well. but the images turned out a bit soft. Not bad though considering the distance.


  1. Nice, I love these guys! Did you ever find the Baird's Sandpiper?!

  2. No! I got caught up with the Godwit and before I got back to looking for the Baird's a Falcon flew over and flushed the Sandpipers. At that point I had walked about 8 miles lugging the 12+ pound lens with me and was tuckered out, so I finished the walk and drove home.