Thursday 13 August 2015

Texel Island - The Shorebirds/Waders

During my week on Texel island in the Netherlands at the beginning of this month I was excited to see tens of thousands of shorebirds - involving at least 25 species. None were lifers for me, but I was still excited to have the opportunity to see so many providing a chance to become familiar with them in various plumages, lighting conditions, and at varying distances.

A distinctive species is the Pied Avocet:

Common Greenshanks are similar to our yellowlegs - but they're very easy to separate in flight due to the white patch on their back (similar to that of a dowitcher).

Eurasian Curlews were surprisingly common:

European Golden-Plovers - despite being familiar with Pacific vs. Euro Golden-Plover identification I was unable to find the Pacific GP that was on the island throughout my week there.

Ruddy Turnstones were common on the manmade break walls:

The sub-species of Dunlin seen in the Nethernlands represents a different sub-species than that found in North America. It has a noticeably shorter bill, and typically retains its breeding plumage for part of it's southbound migration - whereas our Dunlin usually moult most of their breeding plumage on the breeding grounds or nearby.

Common Ringed Plover - many of these! Have been trying to find one in Newfoundland this past week - no success, yet!

Common Snipe - I was happy to see at least 10 snipe that were out in the open and close enough to study. Nice to know that all 10 had the expected tertial pattern for this species.

Bar-tailed Godwits were exceptionally common - a quarter were still in their full orange breeding plumage, a quarter were in their winter plumage, and a half were somewhere in between the two.


More Bar-tailed Godwits! I did see a few Black-tailed Godwits (maybe 100 in total), but that paled in comparison to the 10 000+ Bar-tailed Godwits on the island!