News of the bird being there had come through at 06:45 so we were feeling pretty confident, and when we arrived there were around 70 birders present. Unfortunately the bird had flown from the back of the wader pool to the front and was out of view behind a bank; we had a nervy 20 minute wait before it eventually appeared. We did scan through the Black-tailed Godwits on view, just in case the hud-wit had sneaked back out, but alas it had not. Despite our target bird not being on view there was plenty to keep us occupied; a drake Garganey, several Great White Egrets and booming Bitterns and a couple of Ruffs were the highlights. The Great White Egrets were in full breeding attire and looked quite stunning, certainly a much better view than the bird I saw at Marazion Marsh last week.
|Great White Egret - a better picture than last week's attempt at Marazion Marsh|
After what seemed an age and several false alarms as Black-tailed flew from the out-of-view area, the Hudsonian Godwit appeared and flew to the back of the pool where it fed in full view..........at last. Despite having seen so many images of this bird as I was scanning through the flock of Black-tailed's I had questioned myself as to whether I would have been able to ID it, but now it was there it all it's glory I had note doubt. My first impression was of a generally dark bird which lacked the orange colouration and pale underparts of the Black-tailed's, but as I worked my way around the bird there were many differences, some subtle and some much more obvious. In flight it really stood out from the other godwits. A summary of features I noted are as follows;
- Generally darker upper parts, lacking orange on breast and neck of Black-tails;
- Greyish tone to neck;
- Slightly upturned billed;
- Underparts dark, including vent and underrated coverts strongly barred;
- Under wing coverts dark and wing bar fainter than Black-tailed;
- Only feet project beyond the tail in flight (part of tarsus also does in Black-tailed)
|Hudsonian (left) and Black-tailed Godwit - note the longer primary projection beyond the tail on the Hudsonian|
|Hudsonian (right) and Black-tailed Godwit - note the difference in the projection of legs beyond the tail|
|Hudsonian (right) and Black-tailed Godwit|
|Hudsonian (top) and Black-tailed Godwit|
|Hudsonian Godwit (centre) with Black-tailed Godwits|
|Hudsonian Godwit (top left) with Black-tailed Godwit - note the fainter wing bar on the Hudsonian as opposed to the very broad and white one of the Black-tailed's|
We spent a good couple of hours watching the bird, which was an absolute corker, and decided it was time to head home. We stopped briefly on the way back to look at a Bittern that had been sat on the edge of a reed bed for a while, and were on our way.