02 December, 2013

A Willet is Waylaid

November 23rd was a lovely sunny day here in Englishtown, Belize.  We spent the day just hanging around our place and doing a few minor chores.  My cameras have not been feeling well and needed some attention.  Mostly they were suffering from electronic heebie-jeebies caused high humidity and salt air.  I cleaned what I could and then resorted to baking them inside sealed plastic bags placed in the sunshine after first removing the batteries and memory cards, taking lenses off, and opening any port that could be opened.  After less than an hour in the sun, there was significant moisture condensed inside the plastic bags.  I wiped that out with paper towels and baked some more.  I think that worked wonders, although I will probably need to do it routinely to keep things working.  I tested one camera and telephoto zoom lens - all the photos below were taken with camera.

We don't have many shorebirds here.  The main resident is a least sandpiper that patrols up and down our beach daily.  It was joined for a week or so by a single willet.
The visiting willet and resident least sandpiper.  Big difference in size!
The willet spent a lot of time with its head in the water.  It closed its eyes before plunging in. 
The willet has a straight dark bill, dark legs, and a striking eye ring.  Until it flies (see last photos in the blog), its plumage seems fairly dull.
It goes deeper into the surf than does the least sandpiper. 
Eyes squeezed tightly shut! 
Looks like it got a little copepod - yum! 
It is a handsome bird, and was very obliging to let me get so close.
But this was as close as it felt comfortable with. 
So it turned to walk back down the beach and I went back onto the veranda.
After the willet came back toward our cabana, it went onto the dock where it was joined by the resident great-tailed grackle horde.  The following pictures tell the story of it being waylaid by grackles.
Those grackles can be an aggressive bunch.  I guess they had the advantage in numbers, even though the willet was larger.  You can see how striking the willet's plumage is in the flight shots.  The willet didn't stay away long, in fact it was back in about an hour.  But a day or so later, it continued its migration after its brief layover in Englishtown.
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  1. There always seem to be some birds which see off any strangers in their territory. Here it is Magpies, Crows and Rooks which will chase away much larger birds.

  2. Avocets can also be stroppy, especially in the breeding season.

    What a contended person you are Wilma, I bet Christmas is gonna seem strange and unseasonal.

    1. It definitely does not seem like December to me! But we will go north (all the way to Texas, LOL) where my family is congregating at a holiday rental in Texas wine country for Christmas. Should prove festive. ;-)

  3. You certainly are giving a good sense of life there, all the wonder, awe,and yuk.
    I know how you feel about December, Christmas is best for me in the cold, but then again I am English girl. Have a happy one

    1. Hi Julie - how nice to hear from you! I much prefer December here to what you are having in Minnesota. But it does not seem like Christmas time at all. Happy Holidays to you as well.


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