|Common Name||Willet (Eastern)|
|Scientific Name||Tringa semipalmata semipalmata|
|Type of Report||Rare Species|
|Date of Observation||06/17/2017|
|Reporting Observer's Name||Zacheriah Cota-Weaver|
|Mailing Address||175 Depot Street|
Hyde Park, VT 05655
|Latitude of Observation||44.991912|
|Longitude of Observation||-73.1700738|
|Place Name||Campbell Bay/Mouth of Charcoal Creek|
|Vermont eBird Checklist URL||ebird.org|
|Time of Day||05:15 PM|
|Length of Time Observed||45 minutes|
|Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)||60 feet|
|Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)||20 feet|
|Noteworthy Weather Conditions|
Impending thunderstorm with light rain beginning.
|Optical Equipment Used for Observation|
Celestron Ultima 22-66x100mm spotting scope, Eagle Optics 8x42 binoculars, Cannon Rebel t3i 75-300mm, iPhone 4 with Phoneskope digiscoping adapter.
|Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species|
Previously encountered while birding in coastal Massachusetts and Maine.
|I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event.|
|Description of Habitat|
Sandy and muddy riverbank, as well as short sedge vegetation. At several points seen foraging alongside KILL.
Two WILL associating closely with each other. Actively foraging both on sandy shoreline, in muddy puddle, and in short sedge and rush. Spent several minutes bathing next to each other and preening afterwards. At one point a nearby KILL flushed, perhaps from a passing party boat. Both WILL became still and issued several call notes. After a minute they returned to foraging. Observers stayed standing with scopes about 50 feet from where WILL were initially observed. After about 20 minutes of observing, WILL worked there way closer to us while foraging, and came as close as about 20 feet.
|Description of Vocalizations|
Several triplet call notes issued and recorded (see attached).
|Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation|
Went to investigate birds found earlier in the day. Upon arrival, Ted Murin and Qing Ren were present and had been at the site for roughly 30 minutes. They report having arrived just after the birds had flown south, as witnessed by Craig Provost. Within one minute of arriving and talking with Ted and Quing, a bulky Tringa sp. with large white wing stripe flew from the south, up Charcoal Creek and landed at the end of the peninsula. It was readily identified by all as a Willet, and it began foraging along the waters edge. Within five minutes the second bird flew in and began foraging with the first. Both birds were observed together for nearly 45 minutes. Both birds were still present when I left.
|Relative Size & Shape|
Tall and bulky shorebird, nearly twice the size of the nearby KILL.
Head brown overall with grayish white streaking. Bold white eyering. Dark, unmarked lores. Supraloral contrastingly pale.
|Feet & Bill|
Legs and feet slate gray. Heavy bill with dusky pink at base transitioning to black distally.
Dark brown overall with mottled black, gray and white.
|Lower Back & Rump|
Lower back dark brown overall with mottled black, gray and white. White rump.
Wings black overall with broad, bright white wing stripe. Coverts dark brown.
|Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts|
Heavy brown mottling extending down the breast and into the flanks. Belly white.
Tail seen well while preening (see video). Light brown upper tail with distinct horizontal barring.
|IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?|
Western Willet was ruled out using criteria suggested by O' Brien (2006) and Marchant, Prater, & Hayman (1986). Both birds were dark brown overall, versus the gray base often ween in Western Willet. Lacked the dark bill based typically seen in Western Willet. In Western Willet, "central tail feathers are not barred as in nominate race but almost unmarked", (Marchant, Prater, & Hayman, 1986, p. 332). Video of both birds, an stills of those videos, show clear barring across all tail feathers, consistent with Eastern Willet.
Marchant, J., Prater, T., & Hayman, P. (1986). Shorebirds: An identification guide. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, Co.
O'Brien, M. (2006). Subspecific identification of the Willet, Catoptrophorus semipalmatus. Birding, 38(3): 40-47. Retrieved from http://www.aba.org/birding/v38n3p40.pdf
|Other Notes & Comments|
Breeding plumaged adults.
|This report was written from notes taken:||During the Observation|