Dunlin


Found in large flocks on muddy shorelines in winter.


 

I am no photographer, just an opportunist with a camera! The dunlin (Calidris alpina) is one of many species that present the likes of me with real issues.

Firstly, they are small birds - no bigger than a blackbird, so you need to get close to them to get a decent shot. However, they are very nervous birds and will fly at the very least disturbance, usually just as you have them in focus! Finally, they feed at the waters edge which can not only be inaccessible but also provides no cover for the approaching cameraman. All in all, then, a difficult little chap for the likes of me with minimal equipment to immortalise on the world wide web!

The thing birders love about dunlin is their amazing formation flying display. One of my most unforgeable sights was on Brownsea Island where dunlin feed on the lagoon in winter. A peregrine came screaming in over the harbour wall and every bird on the lagoon took to the air. My immediate thought was that they would have surely been safer on the ground. In amongst the masses of birds, a closely formed flock of probably a thousand or so dunlin emerged, twisting, turning, swirling as one. No way could the peregrine have picked out one of those out for lunch.

Another Arctic breeder that visits us here in Dorset for the winter months.


 

Common Name Dunlin
Scientific Name Calidris alpina
Interest Level
2/5
Related Species - CLICK TO VIEW Plovers
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This species has been seen at the following sites featured on the Nature of Dorset:

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