One of the birds I was hoping to see on the beach in Florida was the Willet. I remember seeing, and photographing, these birds on honeymoon on the same beach over 20 years ago.
Willets are large, stocky shorebirds with long legs and thick, straight bills considerably longer than the head. Their wings are broader and rounder than those of many shorebirds and the tail is short and squared off at the base. Willets are often seen alone. They walk deliberately, pausing to probe for crabs, worms and other prey in sand and mudflats, or to pick at insects and mollusks. When startled, they react with a piercing call, often opening their wings and running rather than taking flight. This characteristic can be quite handy when taking photos - if the bird is disturbed, it remains in the vicinity rather than disappearing.
I was delighted to spend some time with a single bird as it fed along the shoreline.
I took quite a few images of this bird - for more details of these images, and lots of others, please go to the gallery here.