Dunlin: Dr. J. Murray Speirs

This Holarctic breeder usually passes rather quickly through Ontario in May but lingers on its southward journey to its wintering areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of America.

Dunlin

It is often the last of the shorebirds to be seen on the mudflats of the lower Great lakes in fall.

Dunlin
Dunlin

The old names “Red-backed Sandpiper” and “Blackheart Sandpiper” were descriptive of the reddish brown upperparts and black patch on the white underparts of northbound migrants in spring but the present name “Dunlin” is more appropriate for the dun-coloured southbound birds.

Dunlin in winter plumage (photo: fblr.org)

These are small sandpipers (though larger than the tiny “peeps”) but have rather long bills, downturned near the tips, with which they probe the mudflats like small dowitchers.

Dunlin
Dunlin
Dunlins
Dunlins

Dr. J. Murray Speirs

1 thought on “Dunlin: Dr. J. Murray Speirs

  1. Diana Chastain

    Wonderful to read birding comments from your grandfather’s time.
    Lucky for us that he seems to have left his mark on his grandson!

    Diana Chastain

    Reply

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