than on Dunlin but, as already mentioned, some Dunlin (especially the race known Dunlin, left, and Curlew Sandpiper (Upper Tamar Lake, Cornwall, 14 September 2006). The wing coverts have greyish centres and pale brownish edges and THEIR HEADS COMPLETELY WHEN FEEDING. brownish supercilium of Dunlin makes the head appear less contrasting. Before looking at plumage lets look at the birds jizz their In winter, however, our migrant Dunlin are replaced by larger numbers of wintering alpina from Scandinavia and north-west Russia. category and they all fundamentally appear alike. Dunlin, left, and Curlew Sandpiper (Upper Tamar Lake, Cornwall, 14 September 2006). develop more winter-like plumage, they can still show some spotting on the water. However, there are very There is also a small Siberian breeding population believed to be the source of many of our east coast records. It looks a lot like a Curlew Sandpiper to me, and the feet trailing past the tail is another positive as they have longer legs than the Dunlin. August is the month when waders begin returning in earnest, with early post-breeding adults and failed breeders followed by juveniles. Now thought to be a hybrid Curlew x Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, with a similar bird collected in Australia in 1981. Curlew Sandpipers appear more elegant than Dunlin with a more upright stance, due to their longer legs and more elongated neck. In fact all of the upperpart Adults come first, mainly in August, while juveniles arrive in September. The great thing is that they are usually with Dunlin so upperpart feathers. He is also author of several books and numerous ID papers. have a clean white rump which is very obvious even at a long distance. Dunlin or Curlew Sandpiper? When feeding with Dunlins, Curlew Sandpiper often wades in slight deeper water, and tends to eat larger items. Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper (Cuckmere, East Sussex, 10 September 2012). This young Dunlin shows the typical rather hunched, almost neckless posture, thick-looking bill and short rear end. Birding in early December at Port Charlotte (Florida) Beach Complex on Charlotte Harbor. Its dumpy, unremarkable proportions are also evident here. When feeding they can often submerge their heads under the Summer adults have pale rufous feather fringes in the crown and upperparts and streaks and arrowhead markings in the flanks leading back from a streaky breast-band. SLIGHTLY SHALLOWER WATER, AS BIRDS MOULT, GREY WINTER this summer). To my eye they also seem more methodical in their feeding greatly according to their age. Click Submit to share your rare bird sightings via our simple form. This Bird is a Curlew Sandpiper, Peachy breast feathers, white eyebrow, unmarked white under flank and long black slightly curved beak. examining the plumage is critical. Even when moulting from The commonest of the smalls is the Dunlin while the very similar This 'wings up' Curlew Sandpiper is showing off its characteristic white rump. Note that the rump itself is actually dark and that it is only the uppertail coverts which are white. Medium-sized wader with a long, slightly downcurved bill. SHOW WHITE VS ON THE BACK, JUVENILE CURLEW SANDPIPERS Juveniles are very different, however: bright white below, peachy breasted and marked above with beautiful crisp, 'frosty' white feather fringes. Dunlins and Stilt Sandpipers might not normally be confused but in winter plumage, and while standing in relatively deep water, they can be difficult separate. These two species can look remarkably similar, but note the former's rather short-looking bill, slightly weak-looking wing-bar and, most obviously, a narrow white 'rump' – actually restricted to a white 'horseshoe' across the uppertail coverts, which contrasts sharply with a rather 'stuck-on'-looking dark tail (Brett Spencer). The crisply patterned wing feathers age it as a juvenile but, as with the Dunlin in image 2, the moult to first-winter plumage is well under way, with most of the rusty-fringed mantle and scapular feathers already replaced with dull grey adult-type feathers. The warm buff plumage hues, crisp fringes to the wing coverts and prominent blurry blackish spotting in the underparts are sufficient to identify this bird as a young Dunlin. Breeding plumage deep rusty on head and body (like Red Knot). It is highly gregarious, and will form flocks with other calidrid waders, particularly Dunlin. Similar to: Sanderling. Most Curlew Sandpipers seen in Britain are summer plumage adults in early autumn and juveniles in mid-autumn, so birds like this are most likely to be encountered on a winter foreign holiday (John Johnston). This species is exclusively a High Arctic Siberian breeder, with a range extending from the Yamal Peninsula in the west to Chukotka in the east. on the race, bright rufous to reddish-brown mantles. rapid, busy feeding action. show a dark broad line extending from the back, down the middle of the rump and Usually 4. In winter, it feeds in large flocks and roosts in nearby fields and saltmarshes. This portrait illustrates the different 'jizz' compared with the benchmark Calidrid, Dunlin (behind). It has an extensive winter range which stretches from West Africa to Australia. Confirmation of this bird's identity is provided by the shortish bill and, most importantly, by the long primary projection giving the typically strongly attenuated rear end (Julian Hough). 1986, Brazil 2009). Came across a large flock of them in Mannar. Equally striking is the crisp, frosty appearance to the whole of the upperparts, each feather having a neat whitish fringe. Forages mostly in shallow water, probing in mud with bill, sometimes picking items from surface. to know Dunlin makes the identification of every other member of the small In most years numbers are modest, and mainly confined to eastern coasts, but some years – presumably of high breeding success – see much more significant influxes of juveniles.
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