|Dunlin (Caladris alpina)
The Dunlin breeds around the Arctic Ocean in Europe (including the British Isles), Asia and North America but winters further south on ice-free coasts but rarely crosses the Equator.
|It is probably the most common small wader in Europe.
Its small size can be judged against the Redshank Tringa totanus seen on the right of the second photo. This bird is a juvenile showing a gingery tinge to the head and mantle and rather bold, black spots on the side of the belly.
|In winter it is usually seen on broad coastal beaches, estuaries, mudflats, etc., where it forms large flocks and feeds on invertebrates found in the mud or sand where the prey is located by both sight and feel.
In the breeding season it prefers boggy ground, coastal grasslands and salt-marshes provided there is water nearby.
|In winter, as in the first photo, its very drabness is distinctive with brownish-grey upperparts, a pale grey breast band and white underparts.
In summer, see photos 3 to 6, it has a distinctive black patch on the belly as well as rufous on the mantle.
|During the breeding season, Dunlin signal or display by lifting one or both wings showing the whitish underwings.|