There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Greater Yellowlegs

Tringa melanoleuca

  • Large sandpiper
  • Long, yellow legs
  • Long, dark bill, curved slightly upward
  • Bill paler at base during winter
  • Mottled brownish-gray and white
  • White tail crossed with thin black bars
  • White rump 

Listen to its call.

 I came across a small flock of these birds hanging out on the rocks by the Oak Bay Marina this morning. (For anyone confused by the ambiguity of that statement, I meant the birds were hanging out on the rocks, not me. However, in retrospect, I guess I was doing the same thing. So, either interpretation would be just fine). Back to the birds .... They were bigger than the other shore birds around them but much more wary, being the first to fly away when I got too close. As far as identifying them goes, I found it difficult to determine whether the bill was significantly longer than the head, but given the height of these birds, I'm pretty sure they are the Greater and not the Lesser Yellowlegs.

Learn more about the Greater Yellowlegs.


  1. now here's a bird I can remember! YELLOW legs! Great find, Beth.

  2. They are indeed the Greater Yellowlegs -- wonderful choice for the bird of the day! It was fun meeting you today at Cattle Point. Great blog -- I'll follow it with interest.