Dunlin call: Jens Kirkeby, Xeno-Canto
What am I?
I am a small wading bird.
Where do I come from?
I come to the Solent to spend the winter here every year from Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia. Other Dunlin just pass through during their spring and autumn migrations, using the Solent coast as a pit-stop to rest and refuel.
A bit about me
I am one of the smallest waders around the Solent so I can be very hard to spot, until it’s too late. We feed in groups along the shore, using our short beaks to take food like insects, molluscs and worms from the surface. You may see flocks of thousands of us all roosting together at high tide. If you see us in flight, you might get lucky and see us perform a murmuration – a group aerobatic display we use to confuse predators. As we turn, we alternately show the white of our bellies and the brown of our backs. If you are new to bird spotting you might confuse me with Sanderling, but they are much paler than us and a bit smaller too; they are quite fussy too and mostly stick to just sandy beaches!
Although many thousands of Dunlin can be seen around the Solent each year, making it an area of both international and national importance for us, we are sadly declining in numbers here.
I’m a qualifying feature for the Portsmouth Harbour and Chichester and Langstone Harbours Special Protection Areas – that means, when the sites were designated, a nationally significant number of us used these awesome coastlines in the winter!
We only weigh around 50 grams – thats about the same weight as a kiwi fruit!