Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Willets and Godwits on the beach

Recently, Marlene and I went for a walk on the beach at Imperial Beach. This was the north side of the Tijuana River mouth, within 2 miles of the border with Mexico.

A flock of Willets was feeding in the surf, joined by a few Marbled Godwits. They approached closely and I was able to get some good photos.

Willet
Willets on the beach.
Included were a couple juvenile birds. Western Willets nest in the Great Basin and northern Great Plains and many winter in California. So they don't migrate as far as many other shorebirds and are found nearly year-round on California beaches.

And, while juveniles of other species of Arctic-nesting shorebirds often don't arrive in southern latitudes until September or October, freshly-hatched juvenile Willets show up in southern California by late July.

juvenile Willet
Juvenile Willet. Imperial Beach, California. July 16, 2017. Greg Gillson.
Willet
Adult Willet.
juvenile Willet
Juvenile Willet.
Willet
Willet

Also on the beach were a few Marbled Godwits. These godwits also breed in the interior of the continent in the northern Great Plains, which are called the Prairies in Canada.

As with the Willets, late northward migrating birds may be found in California to early June, and the first returning nesting birds may show up by the first of July. And there are always some non-breeding birds on California's beaches in summer that failed to migrate for whatever reason.

Marbled Godwit
Marbled Godwit
Marbled Godwit. Imperial Beach, California. July 16, 2017. Greg Gillson.