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A prayer of godwits

The shorter days of winter do have some benefits. Darker mornings mean you don’t need to get up so early to look for wildlife, and there’s less cover so you can see more. It’s also one of the best times of year to look for, and watch our wading bird species.

Godwits, by Scottish Sisters Photography
Godwits, image by Scottish Sisters Photography.

It can be really tricky to identify these birds, they don’t have the nickname “little brown jobs” or “LBJ’s” for no reason! A lot of species can look incredibly similar, and these black tailed godwits have a cousin who bares a striking resemblance - the bar tailed godwits. I’m fairly confident these are blacked tailed!

In winter, they gather in huge flocks with other wading birds as they patrol the shore, and mudflats to hunt for food when the tides are out or water levels are lower. To get this shot, I went to Kinneil Nature Reserve on an incoming tide and waited, hoping they’d take off in a flock similar to this shot. If you want to photograph them, that’s the best time as you’re already in position as the tide pushes the birds closer so you’re less likely to spook them.

Other places to see them are at the lagoons in Musselburgh, or RSPB Baron’s Haugh in Motherwell. It can really brighten a winters day to watch them paddle about, and you’ll be surprised just how quickly those short hours of daylight can pass by.


Published in Konect November 2021


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