Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2020-30a

Common name:

Hudsonian Godwit

Scientific name: Limosa haemastica
Date: 08-13-2020
Time: 07:40am
Length of time observed: 1 hour 30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: adult-basic plumage
Sex: ?
Location: Willard Spur WMA
County: Box Elder
Latilong: 41.372611,-112.1386517
Elevation: 4200
Distance to bird: 100m
Optical equipment: Nikon 10x42 Binoculars
Weather: Sunny,clear, 60F
Light Conditions: Good
Description:        Size of bird: 15.5
(Description:)       Basic Shape: large shorebirds
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: smooth gray back with pale belly
(Description:)            Bill Type: Long, slightly decurved
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Kendall Watkins had reported a possible Hudsonian or Bar-tailed Godwit the day before on the facebook Utah Rare Bird Alert, so I headed to the spur at first light to try and re-find. After setting up the scopes and scanning the flock I found this Godwit very quickly as it stood out in the flock in excellent light. Noticeably smaller than the 2000+ Marbled Godwits it was with, it had a smooth gray back, lacking the rufus and black pattern of the Marbled, and a much paler face with a bold white supercillium and cheek. The undertail coverts were barred and it had some dark red barring on the belly, but the belly was mostly white, the breast was pale gray without streaking. We watched it for some time hoping to see the open wing and tail, and eventually it did open its wings and start preening showing the black and white tail and the blackish underwing covers contrasting and a white wing bar, ruling out a Bar-tailed. Presumably an adult mostly in basic plumage, juveniles should be more buffy with some spotting in the mantle that this bird lacked.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: Spent most of its time actively feeding by probing in mud, did do a little preening and resting to
Habitat: Large freshwater wetland complex of Willard Spur, part of Bear River Bay of Great Salt Lake
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Marbled Godwit-direct comparison, larger and more rusty overall, dark mottled pattern on back and rusty underwing coverts,

Bar-tailed Godwit-At first we weren't sure if it was this species or Hudsonian, but the black underwing coverts and black and white tail eliminated this species. Also Bar-tailed should have some streaking on breast and flanks this bird lacked
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Yes, I saw a juvenile at Farmington Bay WMA in Nov. 2011
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Western Birds, 'The Shorebird Guide', Audubon Birds app
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Bryant Olsen
Observer's address: 84102
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Mike Malmquist, Lauri Taylor,Kendall Watkins, Gabriela Ortiz and Terri Reid were with me, other independently found and ID this Godwit later that day
Date prepared: 8-13-2020
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: eBird checklist: