Saturday, November 22, 2014

Yellowlegs and yellowthroats

As I walked out into the wetlands I heard the distinct call of a Greater Yellowlegs. It was coming from beyond the mud puddles left by the off-road riders. It rained the night before and the ruts and "donut holes" made by their spinning and wheeling had filled with water. I crept up to an opening where I could get a better view and just then the yellowlegs came flying towards me, calling loudly. Although I was not prepared for flight shots I focused on the incoming bird and fired three shots. Remarkably, all came out looking fairly sharp, so I used the "composting" tool in the Canon DPP software and created a composite image.

Greater Yellowlegs in flight comp 2-20141111

The bird settled down only about 20 yards away. It was wary and did not stay very long, but I captured some views as it stepped gracefully through the mud puddles. It was an unlikely place to see such beauty.

Greater Yellowlegs 04-20141111

Greater Yellowlegs 03-20141111

Greater Yellowlegs 02-20141111

Greater Yellowlegs 01-20141111

Down the gravel road, a Great Egret, bathed in the morning light, took flight as I approached the lake.

Great Egret 20141102

Great Egret 2-20141102

Great Egret in flight 20141102

A second-year immature Bald Eagle glided over the lake. It is a bit less than two years old, judging from the wing and tail molt, as the shorter and more rounded adult feathers are replacing the longer but worn juvenile ones, and its bill is only beginning to show some yellow at its base. Younger birds would have a darker belly and wing linings, and older would probably show much more white on the head and body and not show such a contrast between the chest and underparts. The wings of a third year bird have all adult feathers and look slimmer and less ragged. This bird may have fledged in the spring of 2012, possibly from the nest only about a mile to the northwest. 

Bald Eagle 2nd year 20141102

At the other size extreme, a House Wren scolded from the roadside:

House Wren 20141106

The wren was joined by a chattering male Common Yellowthroat:

Common Yellowthroat male 2-20141106

A female yellowthroat was nearby:

Common Yellowthroat female 20141107


  1. Excellent pictures of an interesting group of birds! And some great reflections of the Yellowlegs!

  2. your yellowlegs shots are wonderful! like a high-fashion model!

  3. Love the reflections of the yellowlegs. I'm wondering what setting you use on your camera...there seems to be a lot of extra contrast on some of the images along the wings and beaks...or are you using the 'enhance photos' from blogger?

    By the way, thanks for the correction of kinglet vs. T. warbler. I think you're right!!! I changed it.

  4. Thanks, Anni-- I process the photos with Canon DPP, which automatically sharpens and increases the dynamic range-- like HD and probably Blogger and Google+ enhance does. I don't like this effect to be too pronounced. Sometimes it looks different on the Internet than on my screen.Now that you mentioned it, the effect is more pronounced on the second egret in flight.

  5. Lovely set of photos! I enjoyed the yellowlegs with the reflections.

  6. Lovely set of shot of these birds. The yellow legs really stand out in the shots.

  7. The Yellowlegs seem to really enjoy all the torn up mud puddles. I always enjoy seeing Egret photos, the ones taking off and flying are wonderful.

  8. The yellowthroat is a early singer here on the prairie. Fantastic shots!

  9. What lovely shots of the birds.

  10. Wonderfful bird shots. I enjoyed all of them.

  11. The egrets and yellowlegs are such graceful birds. Beautiful shots!

  12. Such amazing bird shots! All are so beautiful and also the reflections gorgeous! I love that eagle in flight!

  13. Love all the yellows , the juvie eagle and the composted flight shot. Wonderful. Every picture perfect.

  14. Neat "composting" shot. And I love the images with the reflections. Wonderful! Such a great series of photos!

  15. I like the yellow leg, the mirror photos are fantastic ,nette

  16. Great birds and sightings! I love the reflection shots on the Yellowlegs..

  17. Exceptional photography, the first image is lovely as are the reflections of the yellowlegs.

  18. Wonderful pictures - the reflections are great. These look exotic to me!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne


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