… one of our larger migratory shorebirds and also one of the most visually unique. With a long pink Pinocchio like bill and a mottled or marbled exterior in golds, black and browns the marbled godwit really stands out. Summers are spent in the Northern Great Plains states and into Canada on the expansive open areas dotted with pools and wetlands before a huge migration brings many to Southwest Florida where they make for great picture taking.
They often socialize with other shorebirds- but are easily distinguished by their relative size and unmistakable pink bill often showing a slightly upwardly curved look, the perfect tool for foraging deep into the soft surface of mud and tidal flats.
Spring and Fall are best. Birds like this whose home and Winter ranges are thousands of miles apart actually spend a big part of life on the move so start looking for godwits in October November and then again now. Your best bet are mudflats fed by tidal movement. I’ve had the best luck at Tiger Tail Beach on Marco Island, aworld class birding location that we identified here previously.
Your best pictures will be taken near low tide and if you can attain a nice low shooting angle. The good news is these birds are often very approachable when in large flocks. Keep the sun behind you if possible to illuminate that rich plumage. You can see more photos of this migrant beauty along with more birds of Florida plus our other wildlife in a newly re-organized gallery here.
For those of you with an interest in bird photography, I have been leading weekly photo excursions to the Everglades and am happy to answer your questions as the birds are still plentiful but receding water levels will soon force a change of venue. See you on Friday, Gordon.
“Photography in Naples, Marco Island and Everglades”