Sandpipers (Scolopacidae)

BIRDS / WADERS, GULLS & TERN /
Scolopacidae is a large family of waders or shorebirds. They include many species called sandpipers, as well as those called by names such as curlew and snipe. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.
Waders have long bodies and legs, and narrow wings. Most species have a narrow bill, but otherwise the form and length are quite variable. The bills are sensitive, allowing the birds to feel the mud and sand as they probe for food. Waders range in size from the Least Sandpiper, at around 11 centimetres in length, to the Eastern Curlew, at 66 centimetres in length. They generally have dull plumage, with cryptic brown, grey, or streaked patterns, although some display brighter colours during the breeding season.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Curlews (Family Scolopacidae, Genus Numenius)

Numenius is a group of eight wader species, characterised by a long slender downcurved bill and mainly brown plumage with little seasonal change. They are one of the most ancient lineages of scolopacid waders.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Curlew (Numenius arquata)    Winter Visitor

Curlew (Numenius arquata) Copyright Peter Drury

Curlews feed on mud or very soft ground, searching for worms and other invertebrates with their long bills. They will also take crabs and similar items.

Where these can be seen: Whenever the harbour muds are exposed, they search for prey along the coast line.


 Godwit (Family Scolopacidae, Genus Limosa)

The godwits are a group of large, long-billed, long-legged and strongly migratory wading birds of the genus Limosa. They form large flocks on coasts and estuaries in winter.
Their long, subtly upcurved bills allow them to probe deeply in the sand for aquatic worms and mollusks. Godwits frequent tidal shorelines, breeding in northern climates in summer and migrating south in winter. In their winter range, they flock together where food is plentiful.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) Winter Visitor
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) Copyright Peter Drury

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) Copyright Peter Drury

A member of the Limosa genus, the godwits. There are three subspecies, all with orange head, neck and chest in breeding plumage and dull grey-brown winter coloration, and distinctive black and white wingbar at all times
Its breeding range stretches from Iceland through Europe and areas of central Asia. Black-tailed Godwits spend winter in areas as diverse as the Indian Subcontinent, Australia, western Europe and west Africa.

Where these can be seen: Mainly in the bay area between the old railway bridge and the road bridge when the muds here are exposed.


Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) On Migration
 Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) Copyright Peter Drury

Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) Copyright Peter Drury

The Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) is a large wader in the family Scolopacidae, which breeds on Arctic coasts and tundra mainly in the Old World, and winters on coasts in temperate and tropical regions of the Old World It makes the longest known non-stop flight of any bird and also the longest journey without pausing to feed by any animal, 11,680 kilometres (7,258 mi) along a route from Alaska to New Zealand.
The Bar-tailed Godwit migrates in flocks to coastal East Asia, Alaska, New Zealand, Australia, Africa and northwestern Europe.

Where these can be seen: Normally not seen but a small flock were seen feeding in the muds between the Hayling Halt car park and the Oysterbed site.


 Turnstones (Family Scolopacidae, Genus Arenaria)

These are distinctive medium sized waders.
These chunky powerful birds have strong necks and bills well suited to their feeding technique. As the name implies, these species readily turn stones or seaweed looking for hidden invertebrates. They are strictly coastal, preferring stony beaches to sand, and are often found with other waders such as Purple Sandpipers.

Further Information: Wikipedia

 Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)   Winter Visitor
Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) Copyright Peter Drury

Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) Copyright Peter Drury

The ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) is a small wading bird, one of two species of turnstone in the genus Arenaria. It is now classified in the sandpiper family Scolopacidae but was formerly sometimes placed in the plover family Charadriidae. It is a highly migratory bird, breeding in northern parts of Eurasia and North America and flying south to winter on coastlines almost worldwide. It is the only species of turnstone in much of its range and is often known simply as turnstone.
At all seasons, the plumage is dominated by a harlequin-like pattern of black and white. Breeding birds have reddish-brown upper parts with black markings. The head is mainly white with black streaks on the crown and a black pattern on the face. The breast is mainly black apart from a white patch on the sides. The rest of the underparts are white. In flight it reveals a white wingbar, white patch near the base of the wing and white lower back, rump and tail with dark bands on the uppertail-coverts and near the tip of the tail. The female is slightly duller than the male and has a browner head with more streaking.

Where these can be seen: Visitors on the shoreline.


Sandpiper (Family Scolopacidae, Genus Actitis)

There are two species in this genus, are both small migratory waders, greyish brown on top and white underneath, with a distinctive stiff-winged flight low over the water. The plumages are very similar, apart from Spotted Sandpipers’ distinctive breeding plumage, and suspected out-of-range vagrants must be carefully observed for identification to species.
Both species have short yellow or yellowish legs and a medium bill. These are not gregarious birds and are seldom seen in large flocks.
They nest on the ground, and their habitat is near fresh water. These birds forage on the ground or in water, picking up food by sight. They may also catch insects in flight. They eat insects, crustaceans and other invertebrates.

Further Information: Wikipedia

 Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)   Summer Visitor
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) Copyright Peter Drury

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) Copyright Peter Drury

These birds can normally be seen between March and October in the UK. I have however found them at Langstone Harbour in December although they are uncommon at this time (most migrating to Africa for the winter months).
These birds are typically a fresh water bird . While on the ground they bob their tails up and down, very reminiscent of the wagtails.

Where these can be seen: Occasional visitors on the shoreline but mainly at Southmoor and Broadmarsh, at the stream estuaries into Langstone harbour.


 Shanks (Family Scolopacidae, Genus Tringa)

Tringa is a genus of waders, containing the shanks and tattlers. They are mainly freshwater birds, often with brightly coloured legs as reflected in the English names of six species, as well as the specific names of two of these and the Green Sandpiper. They are typically associated with northern hemisphere temperate regions for breeding. Some of this group – notably the Green Sandpiper – nest in trees, using the old nests of other birds, usually thrushes.

Further Information: Wikipedia

 Greenshank (Tringa nebularis)  Winter Visitor
Greenshank (Tringa nebularis) Copyright Peter Drury

Greenshank (Tringa nebularis) Copyright Peter Drury

The Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) is a wader in the large family Scolopacidae, the typical waders. Its closest relative is the Greater Yellowlegs, together with which and the Spotted Redshank it forms a close-knit group. Among them, these three species show all the basic leg and foot colours found in the shanks,
This is a subarctic bird, breeding from northern Scotland eastwards across northern Europe and Asia. It is a migratory species, wintering in Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and Australasia, usually on fresh water. It breeds on dry ground near marshy areas, laying about four eggs in a ground scrape.

Where these can be seen: Occasional visitors to the shoreline but mainly at Southmoor and Broadmarsh at the stream estuaries.


 Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)  Winter Visitor 
Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus) Copyright Peter Drury

Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus) Copyright Peter Drury

The Spotted Redshank, Tringa erythropus, is a wader (shorebird) in the large bird family Scolopacidae. It breeds across northern Scandinavia and northern Asia and migrates south to the Mediterranean, the southern British Isles, France, tropical Africa, and tropical Asia for the winter. It is an occasional vagrant to Australia and North America
The Spotted Redshank breeds in the Arctic across much of Eurasia, from Lapland in the west to Chukotskaya in the east.

Where these can be seen: On the shoreline when the mud is exposed.


 Redshank (Tringa totanus)  Winter Visitor
Redshank (Tringa totanus) Copyright Peter Drury

Redshank (Tringa totanus) Copyright Peter Drury

It is a widespread breeding bird across temperate Eurasia. It is a migratory species, wintering on coasts around the Mediterranean, on the Atlantic coast of Europe from Great Britain southwards, and in South Asia. They are uncommon vagrants outside these areas; on Palau in Micronesia for example, the species was recorded in the mid-1970s and in 2000.
They are wary and noisy birds which will alert everything else with their loud piping call.
Where these can be seen: On the shoreline when the mud is exposed.


 Sandpiper gallery