Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Species
Summer-plumage Dunlin (Calidris alpina). Summer plumage. Taken at Farmoor, Oxon., on April 25th 2018.
Summer plumage. Taken at Farmoor, Oxon., on April 25th 2018.
(1/500th sec at f10. Click image for larger version . © David Hastings)
Winter-plumage Dunlin (Calidris alpina). Winter plumage. Taken at Farmoor, Oxon., on April 3rd 2011.
Winter plumage. Taken at Farmoor, Oxon., on April 3rd 2011.
(1/160th sec at f10. Click image for larger version . © David Hastings)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina). Juvenile. Taken at Farmoor, Oxon., on September 9th 2018.
Juvenile. Taken at Farmoor, Oxon., on September 9th 2018.
(1/800th sec at f13. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)

Description

L: 17 - 21 cm; WS: 32 - 36 cm

The Dunlin is the commonest small wader found along the British coast. It has a slightly down-curved bill and a distinctive black belly patch in breeding plumage. There are three subspecies of Dunlin, differing in bill length and the brightness of the rufous upperparts. Ssp arctica is shortest-billed and least rufous; ssp schinzii has intermediate bill length and rufousness; ssp alpina has the longest bill and the most rufousness. Actually being able to separate them is quite difficult, but the shortest-bill individuals are probably male arctica or schinzii, and the longest billed are probably female alpina.

Dunlin can be found on the coast at any time of year.

They breed in upload areas in south-west and northern England, Wales and Scotland.

They feed in flocks in winter, sometimes numbering thousands, roosting on nearby fields, saltmarshes and shore when the tide is high.

Around 10000 pairs breed in Britain, with over half a million birds spending the winter here. However, this species on on the UK 'red' list.

Sightings

17-Aug-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2juv)
12-Aug-2019 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
21-May-2019 : Broadford, Skye (6)
20-May-2019 : Ardivachar, South Uist (250+)
19-May-2019 : Àird an Rùnair, North Uist (40+)
09-May-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (4)
01-May-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
28-Apr-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (8)
10-Apr-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
17-Jan-2019 : Slimbridge, Glos (16+)

30-Sep-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
24-Sep-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2juv)
09-Sep-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1 juv)
02-Sep-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
28-Apr-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (4)
25-Apr-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (4)
04-Mar-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
18-Jan-2018 : Slimbridge, Glos

31-Oct-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (3)
12-Oct-2017 : Cley Marshes, Norfolk (50+)
10-Oct-2017 : Titchwell Marsh, Norfolk (60+)
09-Oct-2017 : Titchwell Marsh, Norfolk (30+)
24-Sep-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
18-Sep-2017 : Lodmoor, Dorset (8)
12-Sep-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (3)
05-Sep-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
31-Aug-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
10-Aug-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
01-Aug-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
06-May-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
01-May-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (8)
16-Apr-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
26-Mar-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (3)

11-Dec-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
06-Nov-2016 : Barbate, Spain (50+)
05-Nov-2016 : Playa de Los Lances, Spain
28-Aug-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
19-Aug-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
13-Aug-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (7+)
23-Apr-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
19-Apr-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (4)
12-Apr-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
07-Feb-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (7)

24-Oct-2015 : Titchwell Marsh, Norfolk
23-Oct-2015 : Cley Marshes, Norfolk
22-Oct-2015 : Snettisham, Norfolk
06-Sep-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (3)
30-Aug-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
09-May-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (18)
03-May-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (5)
01-May-2015 : Arne, Dorset (4)
28-Apr-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
12-Apr-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)