Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2011-53

Common name:

Hudsonian Godwit

Scientific name: Limosa haemastica
Date: November 6, 2011
Time: 3:30
Length of time observed: 1 1/2 hours
Number: 1
Age: juvenile
Location: Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area
County: Davis
Distance to bird: 150 yards, then moved to within 30 yards
Optical equipment: Swarovski 65mm ATS HD scope, 20-60x eyepiece
Weather: calm, cold, partly cloudy
Light Conditions: mostly indirect sun
Description:        Size of bird: large shorebird
(Description:)       Basic Shape: godwit-like
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: gray and brown
(Description:)            Bill Type:  long with obvious upturn
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
First seen feeding in company with avocets. The bill identified it as a godwit, and I immediately realized it must be a Hudsonian due to it's smaller size compared to the nearby avocets. The bill was long, with a slightly upturned tip. Bill color was mostly black, with a pinkish area at the base. Long black legs. Head was grayish brown, with a darker crown. Distinct white supercilium and a dark loral line. Upperparts were grayish brown with dark and light mottling. The wing coverts were gray. Grayish neck, darker gray-brown on the breast. White belly. It stretched it's wings a few times, and flew briefly once, enabling us to see the dark wings with white wingstripe, and the black underwing. Tail was black, rump whitish. Wings projected past tail when feeding.
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: continuously feeding in shallow water, with a few breaks for wing stretching and a brief flight when a harrier flew over.
Habitat: shallow pond
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Marbled godwit larger, with longer bill, cinnamon underwing, buffy underparts and darker pattern on back.
Willet (non-breeding/juvenile) has shorter straight bill, lacks distinct eyebrow and black tail.
Bar-tailed and Black-tailed godwits both have whitish underwings.
Bar-tailed has paler upper breast, lacks white wingstripe.
Black-tailed has a straight bill.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Six previous sightings, three in Utah. All were of breeding plumage birds.
Marbled Godwits seen regularly every year in Utah.
Bar-tailed Godwit seen several times in Alaska.
Black-tailed seen once many years ago.
References consulted:  
Description from: From memory
Observer: Joel and Kathy Beyer
Observer's address: 3050 Middleton Way, Salt Lake City, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Steve and Cindy Sommerfeld
Date prepared: November 10, 2011
Additional material: