Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pic of the Day

Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca; Bolivar Peninsula, Texas
     The Yellowlegs has long been one of my favorite shorebirds.  I first photographed one in Homer, Alaska more than three decades ago.  I found a pair of Lesser Yellowlegs at the head of Beluga Lake that were very cooperative and allowed me to take frame-filling shots.  It was exciting photographing the Lesser Yellowlegs on its breeding ground.  They are so wary during migration here in Alabama, that it is almost impossible to get good photographs. 
     There are two species of yellowlegs, Lesser and Greater.  In the 30 years since I photographed the Lesser Yellowlegs in Alaska, I have not had an opportunity to photograph another until I found these Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs on the Bolivar Peninsula.  
     The Greater Yellowlegs is the,……greater, of the two yellowlegs.  The Greater Yellowlegs (above) measures around 14 inches long, while the Lesser Yellowlegs (below) measures 10 ½ inches.  When the two are flocked together their apparent size is obvious, but when seen individually they can be a bit hard to differentiate.  Vocalization is the best way to tell the difference between the two species.  The National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America describes the call of the Greater Yellowlegs as a loud, slightly descending series of three or more tew notes; while the Lesser Yellowlegs is a higher, shorter note. 
Check out this link to see the Lesser Yellowlegs shot in Alaska: from my March 25, 2010 post.

Lesser Yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes; Bolivar Peninsula, Texas
Top photo:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/1000 second @ f5.6
Bottom Photo:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/400 second @ f8

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