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Willet - May 1, 2011

Willet at Lake Arthur, Butler County, PA
It's become well-established that the peak of Willet migration in western Pennsylvania takes place in a relatively tight window during the last week of April and the first week of May, and that they may be found more frequently than previously believed if birders are determined enough. Already in 2011 there have been a few reports in the region, including these four at Lake Arthur on May 1, my personal first for Butler County.

Canon 1DMkIV, 500mm f/4L + 2x, 1/500 sec. at f/8 (manual), ISO 1250, tripod

Canon 1DMkIV, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/500 sec. at f/6.3 (manual), ISO 1250, tripod

All of my pictures of Willets in western Pennsylvania, perhaps unsurprisingly, are of birds seen in cloudy/dark conditions. I suppose in nicer weather they just keep on flying. To prove that Willets can indeed be seen in the sun, here's a photo I took a week ago at one of my favorite spots on earth: Ft. De Soto Park, Florida:

Canon 1DMkIV, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/2000 sec. at f/9 (manual), ISO 1000, handheld on ground

There was also a large flock of terns at the lake on May 1, which seemed to be dropping in as I sat there photographing the Willets. (There was also an adult Franklin's Gull, another first for Butler for me, which sadly did not stay long enough for a photo.) The first photo below shows, by my count, 82 terns, mostly Commons, but with some Forster's mixed in (see particularly at right). After I made this photo I counted another 39 over the lake, for a total of 121. Neither species was new for Butler for me, but approx. 100 Common Terns was definitely a new high count.

Canon 1DMkIV, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 1/1000 sec. at f/6.3 (manual), ISO 1250, handheld

Unless explicitly indicated otherwise in the photo caption, all photos on this website were taken by and are 2003-2013 by Geoff Malosh. Unauthorized usage of these photographs for any purpose is strictly forbidden. If you are interested in using any photo for publication or if you are interested in obtaining a print, contact me at pomarine -AT- earthlink -DOT- net.