Last week the rarity was the Hudsonian godwit, and as it turned out another of the four species of godwits came to Ilwaco at about the same time. The Hudsonian seems to have left for its wintering grounds in South America, but one never knows. It may still be in the area. The bar-tailed godwit is still here and can be seen on the mudflats to the east of the Ilwaco marina. Like the Hudsonian, it is hanging out with a large group of marbled godwits.
It is light gray in appearance, wears a distinct white eyebrow and has very short legs. Its shorter legs are quite noticeable when standing next to one of the marbled godwits. In addition, it appears to be slightly smaller, which it is, by about 2 inches. It forages by probing in the mud just like the marbled godwits.
The bar-tailed godwit prefers coastal mudflats and sandflats. It breeds on the low tundra in Alaska, and according to Sibley’s field guide to the birds, most records of the bar-tailed godwit are of single birds usually in a mixed flocks of the other “big boys”!
The bar-tailed godwit seems to like it here. Perhaps it will stay around for a little while longer. It is definitely worth a look. It may be forever before one stops by again!