Thursday, April 6, 2017

Lesser Yellowlegs in the California Prairielands near Willms Road

We had a rather productive trip to the prairielands east of our little village at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mother Lode. In addition to the Tricolored Blackbirds, the Burrowing Owl, the Western Meadowlark, the Horned Larks, Pied-billed Grebes, and a variety of Hawks were out and about. As we explored some of the vernal pools we saw a lone bird on one of the ephemeral creeks, and realized we could add a Yellowlegs to our tally for the day.
I'm the first to admit that I'm not very good at shorebird identification. There are two species of Yellowlegs, the Greater and Lesser. Part of the difference is the size, but a single bird gives no scale. The Greater is supposed to have a longer beak that is very slightly upturned, but I don't see that in these pictures, so I'm calling it a Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes). As always I am open to gentle correction!
It is the most beautiful time of the year out on our prairie. The flowers are starting to show in some of the vernal pools, and there is greenery everywhere. All of the creeks are flowing, and it's a good time for the animals and plants after five years of drought. I'm looking forward to a few more weeks of color on the hillsides!

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