Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca ), and
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes )
- local seasonal appearance

Based on 9 observations in Seymour township, Northumberland county, southeast Ontario, 1998-2014.

These long-legged shorebirds can be found in season along the rocky limestone bed of the Trent gorge above Ranney Falls, on the west flank of Ferris provincial park in Campbellford. The lesser yellowlegs was identified but once, on 16 August 1999. Four greater yellowlegs were noted on 8 September 2007. In spring 2012, as many as 16 greater yellowlegs were noted grazing in the shallow water on the limestone, on seven days between 23 April and 12 May. This is plausibly the spring migration "window", while the earlier observations represent the fall returns.

The two yellowlegs species breed in the far north of Ontario, from the Hudson Bay Lowlands westwards to Manitoba (Cadman et al., 1987, pp.524-525). This is consistent with our limited field data. The later edition (Cadman et al., 2007, pp.224-227) reinforces this image of these far-travelled birds. The two species are uncommon spring migrants at Presqu'ile park in April-May, and return over an extended period from July to October or November (LaForest, 1993, pp.133-134). A similar migration tale applies also to the Kawarthas (Sadler, 1983, pp.74-75).

View the complete 16-year (1998-2014) monthly data summary (378-kb pdf file).


Cadman,MD, Eagles,PFJ and Helleiner,FM (1987) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario. Federation of Ontario Naturalists and Long Point Bird Observatory, published by University of Waterloo Press, 617pp.

Cadman,MD, Sutherland,DA, Beck,GG, Lepage,D and Couturier,AR (editors) (2007) Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001-2005. Bird Studies Canada,Environment Canada,Ontario Field Ornithologists, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ontario Nature, 706pp.

LaForest,SM (1993) Birds of Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Friends of Presqu'ile Park / Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 436pp.

Sadler,D (1983) Our Heritage of Birds: Peterborough County in the Kawarthas. Peterborough Field Naturalists / Orchid Press, Peterborough, ON, 192pp.

Graham Wilson, posted 31 August 2014

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