The Marvelous Marbled Godwit: A Labor Day Adventure

Marbled Godwit

Occasionally glancing over while wading to it’s next feeding spot, this Marbled Godwit was not shy at all!



WAKE UP! I nearly flew off of my couch, startled by the loud pinging from the alarm on my phone. It was 3:30 in the morning, and though groggy, I was excited for the day that lay ahead. My Father and I quickly got ready and on the road, venturing to the Conneaut Sandspit in far northeastern Ohio, in search of a Marbled Godwit



Marbled Godwit

A Marbled Godwit resting in between feeding.



The Marbled Godwit has been a bit of a nemesis bird for my Father and I. While we have seen two or three over the years, the views have always been less than pleasing, and we have wanted to capture quality images of it for four years. Today was going to be that day, I just knew it. Even as rain splattered across the windshield, there was nothing that could dampen our spirits.



Marbled Godwit

Shaking it off while bathing, showing how flexible these birds can be.



The Godwit family consists of four species with the Marbled Godwit, on average, being the largest. Breeding in the northern central plains from Alberta to Minnesota, and wintering along the coasts, these birds are occasional visitors to Ohio, but not too often.



Marbled Godwit

Posing regularly for our cameras, this bird was incredibly calm and focused on feeding.



When we arrived, it did not take long to find our target. After four years of shaky, distant views, we had finally come up a Marbled Godwit up close. It was a fantastic experience! I laid down in the sand, occasionally photographing the bird, and more often than not, simply observing it’s behavior. The Marbled Godwit is a probing feeder, using its long bill to probe in the mud for insects. At times, its entire head was submerged in the shallow water!



Marbled Godwit

Water slowly slides off the back of this Marbled Godwit as it bathes.



While quite attentive, the bird was not concerned with my Father and I’s presence, pausing occasionally to look us over before bowing its head to feed again. After some time, it would take time to clean itself and preen, then take a short nap. We kept trying to tell ourselves that it was time to move on to a new location to find more birds, but we couldn’t take ourselves away from the Marbled Godwit. Instead, we decided to find and photograph what birds we could and return back to the Godwit and observe more behavior.



Marbled Godwit

Carefully wading through a marshy pool, this Marbled Godwit was quite active.



As the afternoon waned, we watched it bath in one of the pools near the marsh, and tuck its head in for another nap. It was time for us to depart home, so that we might take a nap ourselves. As we left, my Father and I bumped fists as we usually do, acknowledging another successful birding adventure. We wondered and mused about that Marbled Godwit for the better part of our three hour drive back to my central Ohio home, thankful for yet another opportunity to view an amazing bird and adventure together.



I truly hope that you all had an outstanding Labor Day weekend full of family, birds, and adventure. As always, thank you for reading and for your support. If you would like to read more of my blogs, head to the main page and have a look! If you are interested in doing some adventuring of your own, check out the Wildside Nature Tours page to see all of our upcoming tours! Finally, I would love for you to join our Wildside Facebook Community, where you can share and talk about your own adventures, see photographs and stories from myself and others from Wildside, and so much more. We’re growing, and we want you to be a part of that! Have a great week folks!




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