Willets: Stunning and Surprising Shorebirds!

I'M BACK! I have been away from blogging and flickr for three weeks, during which time I sold my mom's house, sorted through more than two tons of stuff that had accumulated over the last 55 years, helped my husband remove the two tons of stuff and bring it to my house, paid all the bills and made all the legal arrangements, and finally, a few days ago, we finally closed the sale. I am far from finished with the job, since I now have 55 years worth of treasures and trash mingled together in boxes and bags stuffed into every inch of my garage and overflowing throughout my house, all of which must be re-sorted and put away eventually. But at least the buyers have a nice and virtually empty house to tear down next week. And I think I can take the time to finish some blog posts that were left half done!

This is a Willet. My first Willet, actually, but after just a bit of reading and research I've leaned how to recognize Willets nearly 100% of the time.  The trick is to look for what cannot be seen!

willet pair
Willits are shorebirds that bear a slight resemblance to other sandpipers, but it takes a moment or two to realize they aren't your run-of-the-mill sandpipers at all. At rest and on the ground they are hardly a breathtaking bird in terms of plumage or coloring. In fact they are pretty unremarkable. They are larger than most shorebirds, standing about 14 inches tall, but they seem otherwise to be pretty drab.

willets sychronized takeoff
As you saw in the first picture, however, these birds are far from dull when they raise their wings to fly. The dramatic coloring underneath their wings will make you gasp with surprise the first time you see it!

synchronized takeoff 2
This pair of birds are obviously practicing their synchronized flying routine. They are damned good at it, too!

synchronized takeoff
They are in near perfect harmony every time they move. When they raise their wings, all pretense of drab and dull conformity is wiped away, leaving most observers with the impulse to respond with applause and appreciation.

synchronized takeoff 3
Willets in flight are not only decorated with bold patterns and eye-catching style; they prove themselves to be are exceedingly graceful and skilled as they move off together as one.


  1. Congratulations on the house sale. I was wondering why you haven't been posting. I was about to check with Tom.

  2. Thanks, Karen. Its nice to be missed! The house is sold, but there is still the allergies, asthma, heat, and humidity to plague me. Also, missing Midnight. But I'm fighting my way back!

  3. Susan I love your blog. You are surely a gifted writer and observer of nature!!

  4. Susan, this is a fantastic post!! I love those willet photos. Great capture! I am glad you are back to blogging. Let the other stuff wait till winter...It won't run away.

  5. Good to see you back Susan. Love the shots of the balletic Willets. FAB.

  6. Thanks so much, everyone! I am thrilled to be thinking about birds again. Hilde, you are absolutely correct - everything else will wait until winter!!

  7. I love willets & there irrepressible pee-will-willet. Dramatic wing patterns too. Good photos!


I love positive comments, critical comments,and corrections most of all!