A Day for Dunlins

This gallery contains 3 photos. This is the second time I’ve seen Dunlins since first spotting a small flock huddled together in their breeding plumage, with black belly patches and russet red feathers, on the end of the Iona Jetty on a chilly April day, six years ago. In the winter, they wear faded tuxedos. Whatever the season, though, their small sizes, long bills, jet black eyes, and seeming lack of necks make them fun to watch as they wander up and down the shoreline. It’s like watching a group of toddlers take their first steps.

Dunlinonce in a while, a representative of the species will single itself out for a cameo.
f/6.3, 1/1000, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 640

Unlike some birds, which may require camouflaged camera gear, army fatigues, bird blinds, teleconverters, and (as a last resort) crawling through the mud, elaborate maneuvers and setups aren’t necessary to score closeups of Dunlins. They seem to find the human presence a non-threatening one, and are as likely to approach me as I them (and I do prefer my subjects to be comfortable around me). They flock in large numbers for protection and warmth, but so do many other birds that I can’t get close to!

DunlinDunlins are undaunted by the presence of humans. These ones even look a little bored.
f/6.3, 1/1000, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 500

A group of 10-12 Dunlins was freely mingling with a grain of 60 Sanderlings and a single, out-of-season Semipalmated Plover on December 9, 2015, at Boundary Bay Regional Park. Although I am familiar with the park as an Important Bird Area (IBA) for migratory flocks of birds, until late last year, I didn’t think that mixed flocks of these sandpipers were common — and then, a flock flew past me. Upon review of that photo on my camera’s LCD, I realized that there were a few dark faces in the crowd!

Dunlins and Sanderlingsthe essence of cute, milling on the shoreline (3 Dunlins and many Sanderlings).
f/7.1, 1/1000, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 400

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47 thoughts on “A Day for Dunlins

    • Susan,

      You may see them on your next visit to the beach! Dunlins are a globetrotting shorebird. If you see them in the summer, they will have reddish brown feathers and a very distinctive black belly patch. 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

  1. Heehee…you are as hilarious as you are talented in photography! Love those round little Dunlins! I haven’t been able to get G+ to load properly; I saw that you won some award or something (to do with Cornell Bird Lab) and was going to congratulate you but never could get the post to pull up…so, I will congratulate you here! Way to go!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • that’s so cool, Leslie!! (and deliciously oxymoronic — a fallout in spring!) they would be in their breeding plumage by then — rich russet feathers and black belly patches galore!


  2. That is quite some reach you have with your lens 🙂 Not bad!

    Some lovely photos. And nice looking birds too. I like how they look for food under water. It makes me want to go out for some snorkeling, and look under the surface myself.

    Kind regards,

    Liked by 1 person

    • thank you, Tieme!

      it’s only a Sigma 500mm, but when you have such accommodating subjects like these, it’s enough. 🙂 I’ve seen how expensive those underwater camera housings can be … you can buy a full-frame DSLR for the same price, or less!


      Liked by 1 person

      • I heard good stories about that lens. The new Nikon 200-500 seems interesting as well. But first on the list is a 70-200 2.8. So got a little saving to do 🙂

        For the shots under water, I have a Nikon AW110. Good enough for me 🙂



  3. Pingback: Dunlins Redux | W.H. SIM PHOTOGRAPHY

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