Thursday, April 21, 2011

Godwits-Hudsonian vs Marbled

Yesterday I saw 5 Godwits foraging at Lake Holbrook which is located north of La Junta,CO. Since the water level is fairly low, the shoreline is distant and even with my 40-60 zoom on my Zeiss spotting scope at full power I struggled trying to tell if these were Marbled or the rare Hudsonians. I had hoped that these photos would help me identify them but I am still not sure (tho I believe at least one of these is a Hudsonian). The features identifying them as godwits include dark and long legged shorebirds, long bill that is slightly upturned that is reddish/orangish at it's base (clearer in spotting scope than pics)
The bird is the top pic shows black tail feathers, a feature mentioned in The Sibley Guide to Birds though when in the context of distinguishing them from Willets (I think the dark marking in front of neck is shadow of feathers blown up in the gusty winds). I think the bottom pic looks the most clearly like a Hudsonian showing a very distinct supercilium with a darker crown and a lighter colored (gray?) neck than the breast and back. I will await feedback from birders who have more experience with differentiating these species. SeEtta