Curlew Sandpiper at Culkein Stoer

September 21st 2011

Curlew Sandpiper at Culkein Stoer

On the 13th September 2011, after a period of strong gales around the country, six juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea, were discovered at Culkein Stoer by David and Avril Haines.

These birds would be on their first migration. After hatching on breeding grounds in arctic Siberia, they were now heading to spend the winter in northern Africa. Curlew Sandpiper out of breeding plumage are, at first glance, very similar to the much more often seen Dunlin, Calidris alpina. The main differences are the longer, finer-tipped and more evenly decurved bill; longer neck and legs and, in flight an obvious white rump.

The following day five of the birds had disappeared but a single did remain for another two days. Andy Summers managed to get a few good photographs of this single bird. The photograph here clearly shows the longer and more decurved beak of this species.

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