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Monday, February 20, 2012

JON'S JOURNAL: Identify these waders

Corinna, Prudence and I went to Northam Burrows again yesterday, and we saw three species of bird for the first time this year.

One was a lapwing (V. vanellus), which have always been favourite birds of mine.

The other two were waders, and before you watch this short film that I put together this evening, please note that I am not claiming that these are spectacularly rare or of any cryptozoological importance whatsoever, but merely that I would like some help in identifying them. I am terribly rusty on my British birds, and although when I was a boy (and my grandmother, who was a keen bird watcher was alive) I knew them all, I am far less certain on my identifications nowadays.


peggysmum said...

well im no birder so i could be totaly wrong but looking in my birdbook, this bird most closly resembles the photo of the dunlin to me. but again im no expert just looking in a book. the bigger fellow i couldnt see enough of, he seems to have a curved bill.couldnt see anything matching him in my book.

Carl said...

We think what you've got there is a Dunlin (Calidris alphina) in winter plumage and possibly a Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). We don't think its a Curlew.

peggysmum said...

ive just checked out the curlew n my book and i could vote for mr curlew too. im glad someone else agrees with me on dunlin, my abilty to compare a book and a film of a bird is going ok then. really should know what they are as im not that far away from the medway estury one of the most important esturies for waders in europe, disgraceful of me really.my trouble is im too busy watching dogs when i am out to notice birds.

HertsHobbies said...

Your small birds are indeed Dunlin, which are common birds of estuaries in winter ("the standard small wader of the region" - Collins Bird Guide).

The larger bird is a Curlew. The black at the rear of the bird is the closed primary feathers in the wing tip, and I think the apparent dark mark on the neck is just an effect of light and posture. Whimbrel would have a pale supercilium and cleaner flanks, and is in any case much scarcer than Curlew in winter.

Good luck with your new (or revivified) hobby. The 'rustiness' you refer to will soon drop away (!), and you can expect many years of enjoyment.