Western Willet in morning lightWestern Willet in morning light – Nikon D7100, f8, 1.640, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I have often written how I long to hear the first Long-billed Curlew in the spring but I feel I should mention that I also anxiously await the first calls of migrating Willets too.

I haven’t heard or seen my first Willet of the season yet but I know that it won’t be long before I hear pill-will-willet ring out over Antelope Island State Park or the causeway to it, over Farmington Bay or Bear River NWR. I only see our western Willets during their breeding season. The photo above was taken last year on Antelope Island State Park.

Eastern Willet callingEastern Willet calling – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/800, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 360mm, natural light

In Florida I saw Willets most of the year but the eastern subspecies migrated south in the winter and then the western subspecies would migrate there to overwinter. The Willet pictured above and its mate successfully reared young at Fort De Soto County Park in 2009 just before I moved to Utah and it was uncommon that they picked such a busy location.

The calls of the western and eastern Willets very much alike and both of them excite me, I do love my shorebirds!

I am listening for their calls here in Utah, it won’t be long.

Life is good.



  1. Elephant's Child April 6, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Isn’t amazing the way sounds anchor a season? For good and for bad.

  2. Patty Chadwick April 6, 2015 at 7:52 am

    I wish I’d had someone like you to make me aware of all the birding opportunities I had when I lived in South Miami…guess I was too busy going to school then as a young mother struggling to make ends meet to be aware of the wonders around me…I missed so much!

  3. Jo April 6, 2015 at 7:49 am

    I enjoy the shore birds images, many of them I grew up with on the Texas coast.

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