Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh My Godwits

Friday, June 13, 2008
This marbled godwit's nest was somewhere along the roadside. S/he was kind enough to escort our van down the road a piece.

One special shorebird that breeds in North Dakota is the marbled godwit. I'm always pleased to encounter this large, chunky-yet-graceful bird with the two-toned, upcurved bill on my annual NoDak trip. Last week at the Potholes and Prairie Birding Festival I had two close encounters of the godwit kind: one near Pingree and one farther to the west, in Kidder County. Here are some images from both.

Female godwits have the longer bill of the two sexes. This is probably a male.

One of the marbled godwit's best field marks is the cinnamon in the wings. Not literally of course.

Godwits eat seasonally. In summer it's grasshoppers and insects on the prairies.
During winter they probe mudflats and sandbars for mollusks and crustaceans.

We did not venture off the road or even get out of our van. Still, the godwits cursed our souls for trespassing.

Later that week in a field full of photographers, sparrows, and longspurs, this godwit made a fly-by just to check us out.

Its nest was at least a quarter mile away. But we stood out like sore thumbs standing on the prairie, so the godwit came over for a look-see.

The marbled godwit's two-toned bill is fairly obvious even from a long distance.


On June 13, 2008 at 3:04 PM NCmountainwoman said...

What a fascinating bird. Great pictures and interesting information.

On June 13, 2008 at 3:32 PM Jayne said...

I'm still snorting at the title of this post! I can honestly say, I've never seen, nor heard of, a godwit. Thanks for the enlightening education. :c)

On June 13, 2008 at 6:53 PM Kathi said...

OMG, yet another Life Bird I missed by not attending this festival. And such a cool bill, Bill.



On June 14, 2008 at 10:46 PM Mary said...

That last photo is wonderful but the bird looks so strange to me :o/ Very interesting...

On June 15, 2008 at 5:33 PM Anonymous said...

Thanks for the photos of the marbled godwits. The Potholes and Prairie Birding Festival was a great. While I god a couple lifers there I wasn’t able to get any really good photos. Thanks for sharing.

On June 16, 2008 at 1:27 PM RuthieJ said...

The Marbled Godwit was one of my 30 new life birds in North Dakota. Thanks Bill, for helping me see these really neat looking birds and pointing out the field marks to look for!