Sitting yesterday morning at home, enjoying pancakes with my wife and grown children in for the weekend, I was both elated at having my family together but downcast as I read the reports all day of the Black-tailed Godwit's once-in-a-half century appearance in our state.
Thanking AT&T for being flexible with its employees' work hours, I determined to make the drive this morning before work. I picked up my brother Scott on the way, and we arrived at the causeway at 8:15. Others had been there for nearly two hours already! We gave it two hours and thirty minutes, but no godwit. We left, skunked, and drove back to his house, about 35 minutes away, where I intended to work for the day. No sooner had I opened my 80 e-mail messages than the alert flashed out: REFOUND! Snap the PC shut, grab the jacket, and back to Pedricktown. This time, running breathlessly along the "Amazon Trail" (thanks especially to those who discovered it yesterday...Larry S? Steve G?), I met a couple of dozen happy birders, all looking at this marvelous long-distance traveler. At one point, it flew a short distance, giving everyone that "Oooh! Aaah!" experience of watching its flashing black and white wings and tail.
I snapped a few dreadful photos with my iPhone through the 'scope and enjoyed the bird for a good thirty minutes before I really did have to get to a place to do some work. I note that it seems extremely slim...much slimmer than nearby Greater Yellowlegs. I might surmise that it's flown in from across the Atlantic, hungry and lean. Marty Dellwo observed that if that is indeed the case, the bird may remain in the area for some time, feeding and adding fat before it continues its long onward journey to the very far north. We can all hope this is the case, because it is an extraordinarily beautiful thing, either standing or flying. I sincerely hope others are able to get to see it.