Sanderling – Calidris alba

Sanderling in breeding plumage

In a previous blog, “Birding with Friends.”  The last photo was of a peep, which we had thought may have been a White-rumped Sandpiper.  How wrong we were.  It was a sanderling, with breeding plumage.  Why did we make a mistake?  Because we are normally used to seeing sanderlings from the fall into the spring, running along the beach in their winter plumage, which is very pale overall, light gray above and white below.  Starting in the spring, sanderlings migrate to the high Arctic to where they breed.  Their color profile is a lot different, speckled black, white and wrists rufous on the head, neck and back.  However, in all, color profiles their legs and bills are black.  Well this is what makes birding so interesting, trying to remember all of different plumages.  Anyway, if you get down to the beaches, keep your eyes open and watch all these interesting shorebirds, as they make their way North or are settling into the area around the beach to breed and raise their young.

Sanderlings flying of a rock with a Dunlin on the rock


Sanderling  Winter plumage

Comparison of a sanderling and Dunlin

Sanderling in summer plumage

Sanderling in winter plumage

Flight of sanderlings