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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs

On my recent visits to the Sackville Waterfowl Park, I've seen a lot of Lesser Yellowlegs (LY), and some Greater Yellowlegs (GY) as well.  They cluster together on little marshy patches in the water.

As you might well guess from their names, the LY is smaller than the GY, but otherwise, you'd think that they were very closely related to each other.  Recent research suggests that might not actually be the case, but they do still look very similar.


 Just look at those bright yellow legs!

They each seem to like to have their own little mud or grassy clump to stand on.  

Sometimes, little altercations break out when one bird challenges another for its spot!
 

 
The LY is generally a little more "tame" than the GY, so they will allow you to get a bit closer to them.  This has been especially helpful in allowing me to get some great pictures of them.






The GY and LY spend most of the summer in northern Canada, especially Nunavut, where they breed and raise their young.  In July and August, they begin their migration.  The waterfowl park is one of many important stopping areas along their migration route.  The GY and LY spend about a month or so at the park each year, with the primary purpose of gaining weight.  In fact, they typically double their weight in that month.  I learned about this from the park tour guide staff, who were leading a tour last week that I overheard!


After this significant weight gain, they begin the next leg of their migration.  Some will end up in southern Florida and Texas, but a large percentage of them will actually fly across the Gulf of Mexico and spend the winter in northern South America, particularly in Suriname.

Such a tremendously long migration for these little birds.  No wonder they need to gain so much weight here before making their journey south.  I am glad that they stop here - we are lucky to have them visit and allow us to see them on their annual journey.

Sharing with the Bird D'Pot:  

Also sharing with Saturday's Critters and Camera Critters!

5 comments:

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Absolutely fabulous images!!!! Extraordinary action!!!

Thanks for adding this blog post to the linking tool at I'd Rather B Birdin'. Very much appreciated.

[I'm in my personal blog admin right now, but checking the links from my bird photography site]

eileeninmd said...

Hello, what a great post on the Yellowlegs. Awesome collection of photos. I hope to see some on their south soon. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week ahead!

Michelle said...

You got some great captures!

Linda said...

Great shots! Love the reflections!

porkpal said...

I hope the Yellow Legs migrate through my part of Texas. Your photos have inspired me to watch for them.