Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Two large sandpipers sitting on a rock; one is a Willet and the other is not. When viewing these two birds from a distance and in unfavorable light or when they are sitting down, it can be very difficult to tell the difference. Close the distance or see them stand up and it is easy to see that the most distinguishing difference is that one has bright yellow/orange legs and the other has has blue/grey legs.
 Having to tell the difference between the Greater Yellowlegs and the Willet in Newfoundland will not happen often as the Willet does not come here often. It typically breeds ('tis the season) in central Canada and throughout the mid-western U.S. This one lost its way. The Willet is a stocky bird, more so than the Yellowlegs and this also is true of its thicker bill.

Despite these differences, these two birds have very similar movements. They looked like kissin' cousins as they moved around the rocks together.

When one would look in one direction, the other would follow. The Willet did, however, seem to be the leader.
 Catching me totally off guard, the Willet decided to jump from one rock to another. It is when it spreads its boldly marked, wide wings that the real difference in patterns is visible.
The broad white stripes on its black wings really stand out. These wings are not seen at all when the bird is at rest. It was a real thrill to see the whole bird when it lifted off.

This constituted yet another new bird for me and was found on a tip from others at the beach in Renews. I must add though that it took us two trips to the beach to locate this uncommon visitor.

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