Dunlins

Dunlin (Calidris alpina) searching for food in the salt marsh.

We went for a walk on the Palencia Boardwalk the other day and posted some pictures we took of the least sandpipers in our last post. We also saw dunlins which are also considered peeps. Peeps are little brown sandpipers. Dunlins are a little larger than the least sandpipers. They probe into the mud for food but tend to pick up invertebrates just below the surface. They do not probe deeply. The bills are very sensitive and they can detect prey by touch which allows them to feed at night. This is helpful in tidal environments when they can feed at low tide. Dunlins breed in the far north of the North American continent in the arctic and subarctic tundra and spend their winters throughout a large portion of the U.S. and Canada except for the Rocky Mountains. They stay in any wetland environment with muddy edges.

Dunlin probing for food.
Dunlin walking on the muddy edge in the salt marsh.

The Palencia Boardwalk is a great way to get closer to the wildlife in the marsh. To get many of the images, we sit or crouch on the boardwalk to get a better angle on the subject.

Linda sitting on the Palencia Boardwalk photographing sandpipers.
The Palencia Boardwalk. Picture taken in September 2019.

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