Thursday, 23 July 2009

A great end to a great day! 23/7/09

Been out and about today. First, we went to Big Waters then St. Mary's. We actually started at St. Mary's but the tide was too far out to see any waders. We decided to come back after Big Waters to see if the tide had come in any more. So we went to Big Waters. When we arrived, we went to the main hide to see what there was on the feeders. There was a lot more than I expected. When we first had look there wasn't much but it got better. Soon a male bullfinch showed up closely followed by the female 5 minutes later. We watched them for 10 minutes before they left the feeders again. We sat for another 15 minutes without seeing much on the pond or the feeders. There was 6 ducklings and 7 cygnets in front of the hide and 2 little grebes further across. Not much more on the pond however. But soon after, a yellowhammer showed up on the feeders with 3 stock doves. A juvenile GS Woodpecker made an appearance as well. There was also baby great, blue and coal tits as well as a wren. Plenty of chaffinches and greenfinches too. At 2pm, we went to St. Mary's. The tide had come in, so we went to the North bay to see the waders. We noticed the sand martin colony too on the way round. Unfortunately, there wasn't many waders even at low tide so we called it a day. However, on the way back to the car, we did see 2 waders fly in towards the shore, so I went down to see them and got some photos. I think they are curlew sandpiper, what does everyone think? Bullfinch
Tree Sparrow Wren
Pair of Bullfinches Yellowhammer Stock Dove
Goldfinches Dunlin


  1. Looks like a summer plumage Dunlin to me, but what do I know.
    The beak looks to short. Knot would be second guess.

  2. I'd say a Juvenile Dunlin Jack.

    The curve on a Dunlins bill can be quite noticeable, but it does appear to be quite short in the photo. The white stipe like marking on the back forming a V is signifigant too. I must say I always struggle with Curlew Sandpiper I Ds myself and some Dunlin often seem to have long bills which makes things even more difficult. Cheers Brian.

  3. Hi Jack it is a Dunlin. No other calidrid wader has the decurved bill and black speckling on the lower belly. Curlew Sands at this time would display some red summer plumage in adults and would be smart peachy toned with a clean belly on juvs. The juvs upper feathers are nicely fringed in cream with black arrow headed pattern too. Structurally they are mostly different. Curlew Sands are taller with longer legs and stride around in a quicker fashion while Dunlins poddle around probing. Learn the Dunlin well, it is the basis for all small wader id, the bench mark that all other waders are judged on. Look for adults too moulting from summer to winter as well as the juvs. All will probably still have some black spotting below until later in the year but have some plain grey winter feathers above mixed with rusty summer ones..

  4. Thanks everyone for your comments. Looks like it's a common old dunlin then!

  5. Many more experienced birders have been flummoxed by autumnal dunlins - believe me!

    great bird photos wish mine came out half as good

    Keep up the good work