Thursday, June 2, 2011
June 2011 Bird of the Month Willet
I have chosen the Willet as my Bird of the Month for June. This large gray plain looking sandpiper is quite common in the wetlands of the Great Salt Lake. On the ground they are drab gray with some speckling, it's only when they take off and open their wings their striking makings are visible.
Willets are one of those birds that are usually heard before they are seen, their trill "pill will willet" is unmistakable.
Willets nest on the ground and are seen foraging on mud flats and marshes, that is why last Saturday on my trip to Antelope Island I was surprised to hear them in the sagebrush. At first I did not see them o\so I stopped my car and started walking in the sagebrush. Much to my surprise they continued to call to each other giving me a chance to see them.
One of the things I love about birds is they often surprise with unusual behavior. I wonder if they are nesting in the area and using the sagebrush as a lookout.
There are two subspecies of Willets, the Eastern which is a costal bird and the Western which is an inland bird.
The Willet may have been the first sandpiper I was able to Identify when I was a new birder. Always a happy day when I see Willets during my birding outings and my choice of Bird of the Month for June.