If you've been following my nature notes for the past few months, you're no doubt aware that I've been steadily tracking the presence of a single Marbled Godwit -- a bird Jenny and I have nicknamed "Marble" -- since late August. On Thursday, December 15th, I observed Marble on a mudflat in Biddeford Pool in the company of some Herring Gulls. The following day there was no sign of Marble, and my subsequent near-daily attempts to locate my cinnamon-colored companion have come up empty. I wish I could share the next chapter in Marble's journey, but what happened Thursday night, when wind chill values dipped to nearly -20°F, is a mystery.
After such a long stay in the Biddeford area (112+ days by my count), did Marble decide to follow the lead of so many other shorebirds (like Red Knots and Black-bellied Plovers) and finally head south? Did a local raptor (Feisty?) turn Marble into a white-season feast? What do you think happened? Regardless, I'm confident that his/her spirit, if not physical form, lives on.
This year, I spent more time watching Marble than any other individual bird. May these photos provide a window into the life of one impressive and inspiring shorebird.
To view the following images in full-size, click here.