Saturday, October 29, 2011

Greater Yellowlegs, Horicon Marsh NWR

A flock of Greater Yellowlegs appeared at the Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in early October; 10/2/2011.
I decided to take another trip to the Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge four weeks ago and was rewarded with my 331st and 332nd entries onto my Life List - the Gadwall (no pics of noteworthy) and the Greater Yellowlegs (Above).  A year ago I saw my first Lesser Yellowlegs in the same refuge (  my 11/7/2010 post ). So it is cool that almost exactly a year later in the same location I see my first Greater Yellowlegs.

A Greater Lellowlegs, Horicon Marsh NWR, Wisconsin; 10/2/2011.
The main difference between the Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs is of course its size. The Greater is larger (Hence its name) at 14" in length, compared to the Lesser's 10 1/2" length. However because the size of a bird seeing at a distance is not always obvious, esp. if you have nothing reliable to compare it to, the easier identifying trait is its bill. The Greater's bill is longer than its head and has a slight upward curve (Above), while the Lesser's bill is about the same length as its head and is straight (see my link above to my Lesser Yellowlegs post).
Another Greater Yellowlegs, HMNWR, WI; 10/2/2011.
In the summer months, Greater Yellowlegs can be found in the northern regions of Canada and the southern coast of Alaska. In the winter they will migrate south to the coastal states of the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. So my sightings of these larger sandpipers are while they are in the midst of their migration route.

Greater Yellowlegs feeding on an invertabrae, HMNWR, WI; 10/2/2011.

Greater Yellowlegs in flight showing off its yellow legs, HMNWR, WI; 10/2/2011.
Another Greater Yellowlegs, HMNWR, WI; 10/2/2011.

1 comment:

~Val said...

Great reflections. I really like the 3rd photo from the top.