Posts Tagged ‘Sanderling



On the 2nd of March I was beginning to get cabin fever. With a tour cancelled because of the snow and my supplies here at the flat exhausted, it was time to venture out. The snow was no longer falling but temperatures were low. I mean … low. The cold wind was one of those winds that didn’t go around you. It cut straight through. Two pairs of overtrousers, two coats, gloves, hat and all I could get on and still walk, and I was still bloody cold. I took the camera to the beach here in West Runton. Ten minutes later I was thinking to myself ‘What the hell am I doing here’. Cabin fever seemed like the better option. As I approached the boat ramp I could see gulls were flocking on the tideline. A sheltered spot and I was able to do a sweep through them. An Iceland Gull and a Med Gull … unlikely bedfellows. I decided to venture onto the beach and get a photo of the Iceland. As I picked my way between the boulders the slicing wind took on a new energy; seemingly determined to push me over. I got to the tideline and no sign of either gull. All that was left was me and a lonely Sanderling, both of us leaning into the wind.


Among the Seals

Among the moulting seals the other day were a few little visitors; sort of litter pickers of the beach. These Sanderlings ran among the much larger seals taking tasty morsels from the sand but also occasionally from the seals!



Sander’ling along

Sanderlings don’t usually like getting their feet wet. They often scuttle up the beach away from approaching waves. However this individual that landed in front of us one sunlit evening on tour last week was more than happy to soak his legs in the water as he ran along the sand.





Just love the Sanderlings that play here on the beaches in Winter; never wanting to get their feet wet but always wanting to be at the water’s edge. Francis Duggan got it right in his poem

‘The Sanderling’

The sanderlings run up and down the bay
And from incoming waves they run away



A Sea of Sanderlings

Lying on a north Norfolk beach in December is not to be recommended… believe me. I was photographing waders. A huge shelf of razor shells had been swept up by the high tide and a good number of Sanderlings were combing through them looking for tasty pieces. I was lying flat on the shells with camera and lens.

I got a couple of shots that I wanted one of which is published below but noticed one of the birds within the flock was ringed; not with just a metal ring but with a series of colour rings. Rather than note down the order and colours it’s just easier to fire off a poor shot as an aid memoire.

I sent off the details to the Sanderling Colour ringing scheme; the return of details was almost instantaneous. The bird had been caught and ringed in the winter of 2009 at Heacham not too far away. In fact this was one of 6 birds that had a data logger fitted that measures daylight and if the logger can be recovered the location of the bird over the last year or so could be determined. Unfortunately, although some of the six birds were recaptured, like the bird I saw, they had lost the data loggers by the time of recapture and so data has never been recovered. However; the main purpose of the data loggers was to test them to see how the birds coped with them with a view to their use on the globally threatened Spoon-billed Sandpipers.

Back to the drawing board.


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Jun 2023


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