Thursday, September 12, 2013

Welcome To My State List, Hudsonian Godwit

Last night we went out for my roommate's birthday to a sushi place that infamously served an unlimited amount of sake. Needless to say, I was not expecting to go birding this morning. But old habits die hard and while haggardly checking the email lists I came across a Hudsonian Godwit report in Napa County, at a site only an hour away from me. California gets about 0-2 of these every year, so it is a solid vagrant.

Eventually I got it together and made it out there, and easily located the bird. It was my first for California, and only second ever, so this was a great shorebird to see. Thanks to the Perpetual Weekend for making this all possible.


The bird was incredibly cooperative...not usually close enough to lay down a commanding crush, but the bird was in view for the entire time I was there. It foraged relentlessly, but was kind enough to fly around a couple times to give up some flight shots. Here you can get a glimpse of the black wing linings, which help distinguish Hudsonian from Black-tailed...a species I expect to see in California some day.


Pretty sweet upperwing and tail pattern, something I didn't get to see on the single bird I found in North Dakota a couple years ago. I've been wanting to see one of these in the state for as long as I can remember, and now the bird gods have rewarded me.


The bird is a juvenile. It's a pretty simple thing to find. Just walk up to the gross pond and look at the godwit that is not a Marbled Godwit. Rumors are swirling about a pro birder who misidentified it as a dowitcher earlier this morning (HOW EMBARRASSING), but I was unable to get a name.

The bird is at Huichica Creek Wildlife Area, at the end of Buchli Station Road in Napa. Drive to the end of the road and walk east along the railroad tracks. The bird favors the small pond on the north side.


As you can see, there was good shorebird diversity here, I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't the last rarity to plop in to this pond this fall. Also, check out the disturbingly long bill of the dowitcher to the left of the Hudsonian. That thing is serious.



In the same pond there were a number of Lesser Yellowlegs, a couple Wilson's Phalaropes, and a few Pectoral Sandpipers, one of which was experimenting with a distinctly phalaropian lifestyle. Good shit.

13 comments:

  1. Friggin' Awesome!

    We've been plunking away with Snowy Plovers, Short-bills, Semi-palsm and such down in Phoenix, and I've been feeling pretty good about this August's shore birding. Way to put things back into perspective.

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    1. I read your typo'd Semi-palm as 'Semi-psalm', which I kind of like.

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  2. Well, the pro birder certainly wasn't Red Phalarope Man, as we was not in state as far as I know. I wonder who this (in)famous mystery stringer was??

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    1. We may not know until things blow over. The sting of embarrassment is probably still strong right now (since the bird is still here).

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  3. #502! After nights of to much saki I'll keep track of your list for you, Seagull, k. Can always depend on the Shrimpf.

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    1. 502 is correct...of course, I wish I was on that breakwater with 6 BFBO right now.

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  4. A swimming sandpiper... I find that more interesting than your godwit. Sorry.

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  5. If you ever decide to change your nickname, you should definitely consider one that includes "Hudsonian Godwit" in it.

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    1. It's a standout name, no doubt about it...even the banding code is great (HUGO).

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  6. What a stunning Godwit! Please send one my way?

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