Thursday, April 9, 2009

Godwit Season

The temperature started to get a bit higher and it's time for passage migrants! During winter, there seemed to be very few waders in Beppu, not sure why, but surprisingly, there were quite plenty during spring migration. This breeding male Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) was one of the first passage migrant birds to arrive. It stayed at the river delta near my dorm for a whole day, so I was able to get plenty of good shots quite easily. The bird has thin barring on its rump and underwing coverts, indicating that it is L.l.baueri, which is a nominate race for Japan, unlike Thailand, which L.l.lapponica with clean white rump and underwing coverts is found more often.

L.l.baurei has prominent barred rump and underwing coverts

Looking at these photos, it might seems that photographing was easy, but actually it wasn't that easy at all. The bird was too energetic and just never stopped moving its feet for more than 10 seconds. Foods were plentiful in the area, so the bird only concentrated on feeding all the time. It could be considered as tame comparing to other waders I've seen. I could even get so close that my 300mm lens couldn't get it full body. The next day I rode my bicycle to the other beach at Rokushou-En, and also found another Bar-tailed Godwit. This bird was still in its non-breeding plumage and very tame yet active again. I should take note that during this time of year, it is the best time to look for godwits. Maybe next time I can wish for some a bit more uncommon species.

Actually it has already possessed few breeding plumage feathers!

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