Of course, I had to try for the Black-tailed Godwit again! It was seen Thursday (the day I missed it), Friday and yesterday. Sunday morning was wide open……. so off I went. Unfortunately, only a mile from the Chincoteague Refuge entrance, I was abruptly stopped by Mr. Adams of the Accomac County police force. “Good morning, sir. Yes, I was probably driving too fast in anticipation of seeing the rare bird in your refuge”. “You have a bird in the car? That is why I clocked you going 43 in a 25 mph zone?” he responded with a perplexed look and an emphasis on the latter half of that sentence. He didn’t get it.
Anyway, I shook off this minor setback and repressed the event. As soon as I reached the designated area where this shorebird had been seen recently, I noticed one “pretty big” bird about 400 yards out to my left, acting sandpiper-ish. I stopped the car, grabbed the binoculars, and viewing through the car window knew it was a godwit for sure….but was the bill straight – as in the rare Black-tailed Godwit? or slightly up-curved like its more common relative (Marbled Godwit)? I needed the scope. Moving quickly, I clumsily exited the car, grabbed the scope and positioned it across the road closer to the bird. YES, the bill appeared straight…..but I wanted a photo and my camera was still in the car. As I hustled back towards the car, the godwit flapped and began to fly! No chance for a decent picture. I needed 100% confirmation for myself (birders, like most golfers, live by an Honor Code) and the tell-tale, diagnostic marking would be the obvious presence of a black and white stripe on its flapping wings. My 3-day new Swarovski binoculars (note: I am no longer “Junior Varsity” as someone recently labeled my eight year old optics) confirmed Black-tailed Godwit! The photograph below shows where Lifer #642 was feeding (I swear!!)……before a Bald Eagle decided to claim the marsh as its territory.
George, Congratulations, no one makes it as exciting a tale as you do, I vote you are ready for a Television series!! Choppy
But you got the bird! That’s all that counts.
Sent from my iPad
On Apr 7, 2013, at 4:16 PM, birdtalesblog wrote:
WordPress.com George C. Wood posted: “Of course, I had to try for the Black-tailed Godwit again! It was seen Thursday (the day I missed it), Friday and yesterday. Sunday morning was wide open……. so off I went. Unfortunately, only a mile from the Chincoteague Refuge entrance, I was abruptl”
George I agree with Choppy, I feel a bird stalking reality show in the making. I’ll volunteer to head up the sportsmed team physician part. Is birding a sport or a pastime? On the edge of my seat, could have missed my flight. Jerry
Darned bald eagles!
Many many years ago I saw a mabbled gadwit – end of Cape Cod. Of course I was with Boston Vassar friends.
Awesome…CONGRATS! And welcome to the Varsity. What is the record amongst Birders? Over 1000?
Sent from my iPhone KJB
Ha! That’s dedication. Well done! Xx
Sent from my iPhone
Ah, the high cost of birding! But worth every penny. You have seen the best of what God is capable of doing on a really good day.
Glad you got the Godwit so we can all sleep at night again!
great stuff! Always entertaining.
Two questions….first, where does the term/name “godwit” come from? Second, has Mr. Adams subscribed to your blog…? My thanks for a wonderful piece….
Cheers Joe…good to see you reading this stuff!! Need to research word “godwit”. Mr. Adams cost me $169!! Ouch. Best to all of you up there. G
Great story, George! Meanwhile, we’ve got 90 Bohemian Waxwings hanging out at Sapsucker Woods today. Many folks at the Lab nailed Bohemians as lifers over their lunch break…
Gustave Axelson North Woods Freelance Writer Phone: 607/379-9300 847 Dryden Rd., Apt 2H Ithaca, NY 14850 email@example.com
Writing samples on the Web: Birding for Boreal Rarities
On Kauai, Some of the World’s Rarest Birds
Goshawk Encounters (selected for 2010 Best American Science & Nature Writing)
Encountering the Last Wolves of Isle Royale
The Winter Beers of Lake Superior Going Primitive in the Boundary Waters
Beers and Sausage in Swiss Wisconsin
Winter Camping and Ice Fishing in Canada’s Quetico
Stalking Caribou in Canada’s Slate Islands
Trout Fishing in Iowa’s Driftless Area
Family Winter Camping in Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains
Caught in a Fire in the Boundary Waters
Minnesota’s Moose Herd is Declining
Thks Gus. My life Bohemian was with Chris Wood in Colorado! Thks for reading. Best to all of you there. regards, George