Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Arctic and Siberian Calidris and Charadrius Wader fest!

There are over a thousand small waders roosting at Ynyslas at the mouth of the Dyfi Estuary at the moment giving very good views. Over 800 are Dunlins with the vast majority being in superb summer plumage. There are a mixture of the three races seen in the UK. The longer billed birds being of the 'alpina' race and showing nice rusty red upperpart feathering - these breeding in northern Scandinavia and NW Siberia. Also showing rusty red feathering but shorter bills are birds of the schinzii race, breeding in SE Greenland, Iceland, Britain and southern Scandinavia. However, there were several birds looking like artica race birds present - small with almost stint like bills and the upperpart feathering being a buffy orange colouring. These birds also seemed a lot paler around the face. 550+ Ringed Plover were present too, with the vast majority seemingly being of the smaller darker 'psammadrama' race of northern Scandinavia (formerly known as tundrae), mixed in with several larger paler nominate 'hiaticula' race. Highlight was the 5 superb Curlew Sandpipers - one in full summer plumage, one nearly in summer plumage, one moulting from winter into summer plumage (trying it's best to look like a Stilt sandpiper!), and two in winter plumage. 85+ Sanderling in all plumages were also present with several in superb summer outfits. Other waders included 3 Knot, Greenshank, 7 Turnstone and 4 Redshank. I apologise for the photos as I forgot my digicamera! Pictures below are with the DSLR and heavily cropped in bad weather! '
Sanderlings were a nightmare to photograph as they ran up and down the tide line. Thousands of Dunlin and Ringed Plovers pushed up by the tide. The only thing missing was a real rarity! Summer plumaged Curlew Sandpiper - what a treat! The first June records for Ceredigion ever accoring to the record books! Four of the Curlew Sands present - you can just see the summer plumaged bird, a nearly summer plumaged bird, a moulting bird and a winter plumaged bird. Several northern breeding 'psammadrama' type Ringed Plovers accompanying them. This bird got my pulse racing when I first saw it! Stilt Sandpiper lookalike anyone? Two Dunlin. Presumed schinzi (right hand bird) and artica (left hand bird) - note the upperpart feathering colour, short bills and face colouring. The nominate alpina race have longer bills. I had one bird approaching Curlew Sandpiper length which made my heart race!


  1. Cracking stuff. Some gorgeous waders there. We are heading that way on Monday for 3 nights at Aberaeron so hopefully they will stick around.

  2. That Curlew Sand is stunning! Great stuff.