Yellowlegs in August

Greater Yellowlegs

Yellowlegs sometimes show up in the North Basin in winter.  I’ve never seen one in the summer.  This August morning, with a minus tide, I saw four of them.  These birds normally migrate north in spring and set up for breeding all summer in the boreal forests of northern Canada and Alaska, says Wikipedia.  If so, where did this little group come from all of a sudden?  I’ve not seen one here this year since the end of January, and in the past three years, none later than the beginning of March.  It’s hard to believe they flew all the way from Canada just to peck at the mud at this low tide.  Something weird is going on.  I’m scratching my head.

One thing I didn’t notice before: when they stab at the mud, they keep their bill open.  I guess that’s optimism and economy at work.  If they happen to hit something edible, they don’t have to go in a second time to grab it.  Also, they seem to have tough eyelids that shut firmly when they go into the mud up to their necks.

Click here to watch this video on YouTube — embedded versions, like the one below, are running into problems lately.

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