Winter Shorebirds

A group of Sanderlings and Dunlins on the rocky shore at Air Force Beach.
A group of Sanderlings (middle) and Dunlins (either end) on the rocky shore at Air Force Beach.

As we gear up for the Christmas Bird Counts in December, now is the time to do a little winter shorebird watching. Last week, during a break in the weather, we got out to Air Force Beach in Comox and scoped out some of the shorebirds on the rocks near a decommissioned boat launch. In addition to several gulls on the beach we saw three types of shorebirds in winter plumage: pale white Sanderlings; dull brown Dunlins with their down curved bills; and chunky, dark Black Turnstones with their short bills and distinctive patterned wings and backs.

A group of Sanderling and Black Turnstones at Air Force Beach in Comox, BC.
A group of Sanderlings and two Black Turnstones (far left and middle) at Air Force Beach.