Sunday, April 22, 2012

Shorebird Season

I had a chance on Friday to get out to the local refuge and chase a White-faced Ibis that showed up for all to see. It's not as good as the Eleania that showed up in Chicago but I'll take what I can get. I got a good look at the Ibis but it wasn't close enough to get any good photos so after a while I started to notice some shorebirds close to the observation deck I was on. The conditions were perfect and I took advantage to get some nice shots.
For a couple of weeks we've had both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs (above) hanging around. The only other type of shorebird in the area are Pectorals but none were around. The birds didn't seem to be too concerned about all the people on the deck and came quite close.
It was a good opportunity to get side by side views of the Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and I think I have a much better handle on how to tell them apart now. This Greater Yellowlegs is in full breeding plumage which is why he appears so dark.
Also around but not quite as cooperative were a few Wilson's Snipe. They mostly stayed just inside the edge of the cattails but once in a while they would venture a bit farther out into the open.

The majority of shorebirds are still to the south but little by little they will be arriving in my area. Today I saw my first Dunlins and expect the pace of arrivals to pick up. Now if we can just make sure the mudflats are around I should have a fun time trying to ID all the peeps that are on the way.

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