The Sanderling (Calidris alba) is a small wading bird which breeds in the High Arctic during summer months. With the beginning of autumn, it migrates south and becomes a nearly cosmopolitan species with individuals spotted as far as South America, southern Africa, and Australia. The birds breed in areas of the coastal tundra and during migration they are most commonly seen on tidal flats, sandy beaches, or the shores of lakes. They feed mainly on invertebrates living in the sandy substrates, including crustaceans. Although they travel vast distances, the small birds can reach considerable ages with a maximum record of 18 years and 6 months! I have photographed these fascinating waders during a trip to the small German island Helgoland (September 2013) which lies in the middle of the North Sea and is famous for being visited by migrating birds.
Waders make great subjects. Beautiful images – especially the first one!
thank you!! unfortunately, many are really difficult to identify!
Love to see them in their summer plummage. Our visits to Algarve to see the waders are nearly always in Winter so we tend to see them in their duller but still beautiful feathers. We are though always surprised by the odd one or two who are in summer plummage in the depths of winter – can never quite work that out!
thanks for your comment, Becky! I am not an expert on waders, but I think that during summer and in breeding plumage, sanderlings are actually rather brownish? So, I thought that on the photos in the post from September 2013, the birds are already more or less in winter plumage or at least changing into it?
They look brighter than the ones I saw last week but perhaps you’re right as on second look the reddish browns on some of them are not as vibrant as they can be in summer.
maybe I should go out looking for them these days to compare… but it’s so cold!!! 🙂