Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hudsonian Godwit & Two Ruffs

Onslow Island was Birder Central this morning as folks from far and wide flocked there hoping that the Ruff and Hudsonian Godwit found there last Wednesday had stayed the week until the area was once again open to the public on the following Wednesday.

Mark McShane was once again on site early and posted that both birds had been relocated and that the one Ruff and become two - male and female.

Thanks to my co-worker Nicole and my boss Craig, I was able to switch days and get there a bit before nine. Folks were looking at the Hudsonian Godwit so all I had to do was walk up to a scope and take a look. The bird was actively feeding, flew a couple of times, and ended up feeding near a flock of dunlin. My photos are not great.
Hudsonian Godwit lands

Hudsonian Godwit near flock of Dunlin

The Ruff and Reeve had been quite close when the group arrived early,  but could not be located when I arrived. After a while, we walked to the right along the dike to search for them. At this time, the godwit flew and some saw it go across the dike and towards the river. By mid-afternoon, it had not been relocated.

We had better luck with the Ruff. First we found the female feeding near the edge of the water. She flew closer in company with a Lesser Yellowlegs.
Lesser Yellowlegs flies in with female Ruff (Reeve)
Lesser Yellowlegs & Reeve

Lesser Yellowlegs and Reeve
Reeve (left) and Lesser Yellowlegs - note difference in bill length, marbling on back of Reeve, buffy breast.
Later, others in the group located the male Ruff back where it had been earlier in the morning. Then it
flew over to join the Reeve and gave me a good look at the signature U pattern of white on the rump.
Ruff raises wings and shows U pattern of white on upper tail.

Note the white "U" on the upper tail
Eventually, both birds returned to feed together near the front dike. The light wasn't great but it was fabulous to see them side by side and in the company of yellowlegs and avocets.

Reeve (left) and Ruff

Lesser Yellowlegs (left) Reeve (center) and Ruff (right)
Of course, I had to sneak in a few shots of the avocets since they were being very co-operative.
American Avocet with Refection
Thanks again to the folks who found these birds - Joel Vos, Mary Lou Dixon, and James Fleullan.

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