Dunlin: New Year’s Day was brilliant, bright weather down south and we walked Pett Levels beach, being treated to a close view of Dunlin, a small sandpiper that overwinters on our shores. Dunlin’s winter plumage is much paler than when breeding, so here is a chance to get familiar with it: about the size of a starling, Dunlin have a dark, slightly down-curved bill, and in winter, pale grey back with white belly and a little grey on the side of the breast. ( in breeding plumage they develop stronger colours and a dark belly). They may be confused with the larger, stockier Knot at this time of year. The BTO do a great video to help you spot the differences.In flight, Dunlin have a silvery-white appearance- see the photo’s. Best seen feeding just as the tide goes out or comes in over sand. Conditions: Bright, colder spell. Temperature: Max 5 Min -1
Dunlin- after a few days away without the computer, here’s another wader seen on our trip to the north east, and one that can be seen on most of our coasts, feeding along the receding or incoming tide-line. These Dunlin are in their less colourful winter plumage. Dunlin breed on inland uplands but overwinter in flocks, sometimes numbering thousands. They roost on marshes and fields, feeding on worms, insects and snails both there and along the shore. They have dark, slightly down-curved bills. Their back-markings and pale undersides are worth getting familiar with as they swoop and dive in flight. Conditions: Bright, dry days and frosty nights. Temperature: Max 5- Min 3c.