Greater Yellowlegs are a medium sized shorebird with long yellow legs, long necks, white rumps and tails and long slightly decurved bills. I have photographed Greater Yellowlegs in Florida and Utah but they don’t breed in those locations, they are just migrating through or overwintering in the case of Florida. I photographed them often in Florida and not so often in Utah.
Greater Yellowlegs habitat during breeding season includes tundra, wet bogs, marshes and muskegs in Canada, southern Alaska and a tiny area in Washington State. They winter as far south as Tierra del Fuego in the southernmost part of Chile.
In Florida I photographed Greater Yellowlegs along the Gulf coast, saltwater marshes and in lagoons. More often than not I photographed them while they were on or near the shore while I knelt low in the lagoons or saltwater marshes or by sand crawling on my belly towards them while they fed along the shoreline of the Gulf. Because I made myself “small” and low and moved towards them very slowly the yellowlegs were very relaxed in my presence sometimes to the point of falling asleep as I photographed them.
Here in Utah I photograph Greater Yellowlegs most often in the marshes of Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and Farmington Bay WMA as they migrate through and stop over in the marshes around the Great Salt Lake to feed and rest. I usually photograph Greater Yellowlegs from inside a vehicle by using it as a mobile blind to get close to the birds because they are a bit more skittish and wary of humans here. I’ve also seen them on the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake itself but the images I have taken of them there are from a long distance and thus aren’t high quality.
I expect to see Greater Yellowlegs soon because they are one of the first shorebirds to migrate through Utah on their way to their breeding grounds.
Life is good.
I have also seen and photographed Greater Yellowlegs in Montana.