My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Lesser Yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Lesser Yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes

The Lesser Yellowlegs is a medium-sized shorebird similar in appearance to the larger Greater Yellowlegs. It is not closely related to this bird, however, but instead to the much larger and quite dissimilar Willet, merely the fine, clear and dense pattern of the neck shown in breeding plumage indicates these species’ actual relationships.

Their breeding habitat is clearings near ponds in the boreal forest region from Alaska to Quebec. They nest on the ground, usually in open dry locations.

They migrate to the Gulf coast of the United States and south to South America.

This species is a regular vagrant to western Europe, and the odd bird has wintered in Great Britain.

These birds forage in shallow water, sometimes using their bill to stir up the water. They mainly eat insects, small fish and crustaceans.

The call of this bird is softer than that of the Greater Yellowlegs.

On to my photos:

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs in flight

Lesser Yellowlegs in flight

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

To show the slight difference between the greater and lesser yellowlegs, here are two photos with one of each species. The only real difference that you can see is size, the surest way to tell the two species apart is by their call.

Greater yellowlegs center, lesser yellowlegs to the right

Greater yellowlegs center, lesser yellowlegs to the right

Greater yellowlegs to the rear, lesser yellowlegs in front

Greater yellowlegs to the rear, lesser yellowlegs in front

This is number 143 in my photo life list, only 207 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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12 responses

  1. Great study of the bird in pictures!

    January 28, 2014 at 7:17 am

    • Thanks, I try.

      January 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

  2. It’s amazing how the feather patterns on several of these shorebirds look so much alike.

    January 28, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    • Tell me about it! I have learned to not even look at the feather patterns of the bodies, just the faces and maybe the tails. I go by the bird’s size, color of their legs, and the size, shape, and color of their beaks for the most part.

      January 29, 2014 at 12:20 pm

  3. What an interesting bird! Gorgeous photos and it was wonderful that you got the two in the same frame to show the differences! Very educational!

    January 29, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    • Thanks, my biggest problem that day was that there were so many different species all together that it was hard to get just one bird in a photo.

      January 30, 2014 at 2:20 am

  4. Great shots! Love the new lens!

    January 30, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    • Thank you, I’m kind of partial to it myself.

      January 31, 2014 at 1:13 am

  5. Like your new countdown, too…let’s see what Punxsutawney Phil has to say tomorrow!

    February 1, 2014 at 8:19 am

    • Thanks lori, but it doesn’t matter what Phil says, winter is going to stick around for at least 6 more weeks.

      February 1, 2014 at 10:14 am

  6. Great photos! Love the big Coot-like feet.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    • Thanks!

      February 7, 2014 at 2:48 pm