Bar-tailed Godwit

Limosa lapponica

The breeding range of the bauerisubspecies of Bar-tailed Godwit extends across much of Central and eastern Russia to the Alaskan shoreline of the eastern Bering Sea. These graceful shorebirds winter largely in Australia, and thus have to undertake truly remarkable open water flights in their annual migration to and from their Alaskan breeding grounds. In spring, Bar-tailed Godwits are annual, and occasionally will occur in large numbers. In general, any strong North or East winds will ground flocks of Godwits, who will often spend a few days feeding around the island before flying the remaining 300 miles to the Alaskan mainland. Bar-tailed Godwits are fairly early migrants and there are Pribilof records as early as late April. Numbers typically will peak in late May and then by the end of the first week of June their spring migration is over. In some years a few southbound Godwits will appear (usually on the Salt Lagoon) in late July-early October. It is always worth sorting through Godwit flocks while on Saint Paul, as any of the other three species of Godwits could occur. A few good fieldmarks for Bar-tailed Godwits are their indistinctly motted rumps, brownish underwings, and a long two-toned bill with a slight upturn.