Dunlin, male 11/20/17

In New England we have a handful of shorebirds that spend the winter and Dunlin are one of them. This one is in gray above and white below winter plumage, while Dunlin in breeding plumage are quite striking with black bellies and quite rusty reddish backs. In all plumages they have black legs and a long decurved black bill. Once you’re familiar with them you’ll know that this one’s bill is actually short for a Dunlin, indicating it’s male. They breed all around the Arctic and winter along temperate and tropical coasts and come in ten subspecies. I found this one by itself but in winter they become quite social forming large flocks, the nearest one I know of can be found in Hampton Beach.

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