Early ‘Wits

Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa)

The Golden Gate Audubon bird blog advised recently that the fall migration was starting early this year, and these Marbled Godwits are a case in point. Three years ago I saw a small handful of these birds in late summer (Marbled Godwits in August, August 24 2018). That was quite unusual. Normally these birds show themselves here only in the winter months. But as any bird observer an testify, birds listen to different drummers. Most of them stick with the big flock, but some of them follow their own beaks wherever they may point. Somewhat like people …

Happily, all three of these godwits seemed to be in perfect condition. One of the birds three years ago had a broken leg and struggled to feed itself. One of the birds found and gobbled two bits of aquatic protein, probably crabs, inside of five seconds. Although their bills are long, they move the food from tip to gullet in a very short time, almost as if they had a transmission belt for a tongue.

These three might have foraged here longer, but a human fisher in waders lugging rods and nets and an 18-inch striper plodded towards us on the beach and they took off.

Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa)

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