Greater Yellowlegs In Utah During Late Fall and Winter? It’s Not Unusual

/, Davis County, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Greater Yellowlegs, Shorebirds, Utah/Greater Yellowlegs In Utah During Late Fall and Winter? It’s Not Unusual

Greater Yellowlegs in the mud at Farmington Bay, Farmington Bay WMA, Davis County, UtahGreater Yellowlegs in the mud at Farmington Bay – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’ve been seeing lots of Greater Yellowlegs recently at Farmington Bay WMA here in northern Utah and that might seem unusual because signs of winter have already shown but it really isn’t that unusual at all for this species of shorebirds. Personally I have seen them as late as the end of December and as early as late February foraging in open water even with a thick layer of snow on the ground. The past few winters have been milder than normal and it wouldn’t surprise me if in the future we saw them regularly all winter long, especially with the effects of climate change.

This Greater Yellowlegs was photographed on October 30th at Farmington Bay. That white thing in the mud on the right side is a shotgun wad, shooting is not allowed in the area where this yellowlegs was photographed so it probably floated to that location.

November trio of Greater Yellowlegs, Farmington Bay WMA, Davis County, UtahNovember trio of Greater Yellowlegs – Nikon D500, f10, 1/1600, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

And this trio of yellowlegs were photographed on November 2nd, they were part of a flock of about two dozen that were foraging in some shallow water of the marsh.

We have other shorebirds that hang around here in Utah during the winter including Killdeer and Wilson’s Snipe. This far north you might not think we’d have shorebirds that you could see in a blizzard but we really can.

Life is good.


Greater Yellowlegs facts and information:

Tringa melanoleuca

  • Greater Yellowlegs are a medium sized shorebird with long yellow legs, long necks, white rumps and tails and long slightly decurved bills.
  • Greater Yellowlegs habitat during breeding season includes tundra, wet bogs, marshes and muskegs.  During the winter they are found along the coasts, lakeshores, marshes, pools and mudflats.
  • They breed in southern Canada to Alaska.
  • Greater Yellowlegs are migratory and spend winters the southeast and southwest U.S., California, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America.
  • The diet of Greater Yellowlegs includes small terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, insects, frogs, seeds, berries and small fish.
  • Greater Yellowlegs lay 3 to 4 eggs which take 23 days to hatch. Both sexes incubate.
  • A group of yellowlegs is called an “incontinence”.


  1. Pepe Forte November 10, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Great shots and info. ! Love the reflections in the second pic. It’s like the Yellowlegs are walking on a mirror. Thanks Mia.

  2. Patty Chadwick November 5, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Nice images….especially like the first…we have them here, too. I hope the same as Ellie Baby..about the shotgun wad…

  3. Elephants Child November 5, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    I hope the shotgun was DID float there and wasn’t deposited by a littering rule breaker.

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