2022—Lone Willet

A lone Willet appeared on the small bluff where we were laying in the sand with our 400mm lenses on Red River Beach. The tall Willet dwarfed the Sanderlings and Semipalmated Sandpipers that were scurrying back and forth. It moved slowly and purposefully, unlike the quick, erratic movements of the smaller birds. Its visit to the top of the bluff was short. After it disappeared down the side, we could occasionally see the top of its head as the tide began to rise. Then it was gone. There are two Willet subspecies, an Eastern and a Western subspecies, something I didn’t realize when I photographed this bird. A review of the Sibley Guide to Birds revealed that the Eastern Willet is slightly smaller than the Western and its bill is a bit shorter. The Sibley Guide also pointed out that Western Willets breed on both coasts so I can’t be positive that this is an Eastern Willet but based on the descriptions, I think it is.

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