I ended 2014 on a down note, but this has been a decent birding year despite an awful lot of Real Life™ intruding. But I shall strive to blog on, nevertheless!
It’s appropriate to start again today since I hit a significant number — 200 bird species in my Region 8 area, with the unexpected arrival of this ghostly-pale Western Willet at the Cohoes Flats. Willets (Eastern subspecies) are common all along the coast and I saw them often back in my Queens days. Up here, though, we get the Western sub, and not many of them. A quick check of eBird showed this is the first report since 2011!
I had to play with these photos a bit to bring out the subtle colors of the bird. In the glaring sunlight against bleached rocks, the Willet almost disappeared.
This may be my favorite bird picture I’ve ever taken. I was disappointed at first that I hadn’t caught the wing fully extended, showing off the bold black-and-white pattern, but I love the arc of stretch and the tiptoes.
I shifted over to my perch above the spillway. The lighting was marginally better but the change in elevation made the bird almost invisible. Only its reflection gave it away!
Just how long are those legs?
Birders (and parents of small children!) are likely the only people who can’t wait for summer to be over. A change in shorebirds is the earliest sign that migration is just beginning. It’s almost time for Confusing Fall Warblers!
*Obligatory Pratchett reference.