Thursday, April 26, 2018

Willet Count Day 4

I started out from the sea on a sunny afternoon with a cool wind of 10-15mph coming from some westerly direction.  It is almost low tide.  Not even in the canoe and Willets around me are making a racket.  Straight across the river is a territorial or mating dispute with two Willets engaged in a close flying dogfight.
I count 36 Willets below the railroad bridge.  I add 10 more to the count in the third of mile between the railroad and the Post Road bridge.  I spot none from there until I get into the Big Bends.  This is no surprise as Willets prefer wide open grassland spaces where they set their nests on the ground.  Although I've never seen Willets fly as a flock, they do work as a team warning each other of and harassing intruders.  They are effective enough that I rarely see predator birds in the lower marshes while the Willets are around.  While there is open marsh land between the Post Road and the Big Bends, it is narrower than other areas in this marsh and is probably too small a patch to hold enough Willets for them to protect each other.  I find six more Willets at the top end of the Big Bends.
Snowy Egret
The count for the day is 52.  It should also be noted that a majority of the Willets appeared to be paired...pairs of Willets not in close proximity with other Willets.

Of note, I also spotted one Glossy Ibis below the Post Road and four more on the last bend of the Big Bends.  This is the first Glossy Ibis sighting this year.
Glossy Ibis
The Count
April 19  =  1
April 23  = 15
April 24  = 21
April 26 = 52

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