Sunday, April 26, 2009

Shorebirds at Lake Byllesby

On Friday, the day we saw an osprey, we found our way to a secluded beach on the northwest side of Lake Byllesby in search of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Dunlins, and whatever other shorebirds might present themselves, with particular hopes to see some American Avocets, which had been reported at the lake. This side of the lake is shallow and protected; we found later on when we went around to the south side that it was wind-whipped to the point of being downright inhospitable, and we quickly retreated. However, from this sheltered area there were dozens and dozens - probably at least a couple of hundred - of shorebirds to be seen.

Most were either Greater or Lesser Yellowlegs - it can be hard to tell the greater from the lesser, but they both generally give an impression of a speckled gray on top and a pale breast and underside - and, of course, they have yellow legs. The photo above makes me laugh: look at the bird on the right.

I like this one of two companionable yellowlegs, though the movement of their heads resulted in a little blurring.

Here one looks as if it is scratching itself, and perhaps it is. I am informed by my resident bird expert that what looks like a bent elbow on the bird on the left is actually its wrist; the elbow is higher up, as can be seen on the bird on the right.

This one has a fuzzy-headed appearance that I found endearing.

As I noted in my earlier post about the osprey, we never did see an avocet; they are rare indeed in this part of Minnesota. The shorebirds we did see are in migration and will be gone again within the next two or three weeks. The killdeer is the only bird of this type hangs around here for several months.

We did see a line of white pelicans on a sandbar far out across the lake, looking almost like a line of breaking waves, but they were too far away to get any decent shots, even through the spotting scope.


Mr Lee said...

Enjoy your blog.So kind.Good luck!
We hope that we will have the opportunity to make friends with you.
We invite you to come to our blog. You are welcome any time.

Bob and Cynthia Kaufman said...

Very astute observations on the Yellowlegs, Penny, with great accompanying photos.

mick said...

Its especially interesting for me to read a post about shorebirds as I live close to some major shorebird sites down here. Yellowlegs are a very rare vagrant down here. Enjoyed your photos too.

MaineBirder said...

Love the shorebird series! Looks like they are making themselves at home.

Jim H. said...

I read something last week about plans to raise the height of the dam at Lake Byllesby (which is really a reservoir)to guard against the possibility of a big flood downstream (at Cannon Falls, I guess). But wouldn't that change the shoreline of Byllesby quite a bit? Heard anything?

Nice pics!

Penelope said...

Jim - Now that you mention it, I did read something about that. I'll look into it...

Larry Jordan said...

Nice captures of the Yellowlegs Penny! I love the "fuzzy headed" gut at the end.