Pictures of Turnstone from Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland, 8.11.06.




juvenile turnstone, 8 november


Picture 1. Viewed from in front the Turnstone has a heron-like or woodpecker-like expression (another association is the Swedish tennis-player Björn Borg); with sunken eyes just above the corner of the "mouth", directed to the sides, squinting forward, and with slightly reduced parallax relative to species of the same size. Ordinary foraging at low tide involves lifting seaweed with forehead and base of bill, the wear on these feathers must be extreme. The visibility within such a "seaweed cave" must be somewhat reduced, but in contrast with borers like Black-tailed godwit and Dunlin, Turnstones seem to keep their eyes open - as long as they can be observed. Under high tide conditions there is no doubt, then eyesight is of crucial importance. The bird shown is in its first calendar-year, buff-edged greater and median coverts can be discerned on the left edge (seen from the observer), and the light patches in the breast yoke are whitish and fairly large, the cheeks are also paler, more whitish than in an adult bird. Turnstone 1c, Dun Laoghaire, 8.11.06. [CP]


juvenile turnstone, 8 november


Picture 2. The distance to some prey object is determined by quick movements of the head. Note - apart from wing coverts - the two buff stripes on the back, which almost connect to the yoke patches. Turnstone 1c, Dun Laoghaire 8.11.06. [CP]


juvenile turnstone, 8 november


Picture 3. The juvenile bird from a third angle, the worn buff edges of tertials are glimpsed, no eye-ring. Turnstone 1c, Dun Laoghaire 8.11.06. [CP]


juvenile turnstone, 8 november


Picture 4. Here, from another perspective, the buff edges of tertials can be discerned, they will soon be worne away altogether. Turnstone 1c, Dun Laoghaire 8.11.06. [CP]


adult turnstone, 8 november


Picture 5. The Turnstone often turns its head and fixes some prey with one of its sunken out-turned eyes. The bird shown is in at least its second calendar-year; the patch at the edges of the breast-yoke is diminutive, wing coverts lack buff edges, and the buff line on the back is diffuse. Note eye-ring in this specimen. Turnstone 2c+, Dun Laoghaire 8.11.06. [CP]


adult turnstone, 8 november


Picture 6. Next it stretches like a heron, watching intently for a second. Eye-ring only indicated here. Turnstone 2c+, Dun Laoghaire 8.11.06. [CP]


adult turnstone, 8 november


Picture 7. On the other hand the first row of back feathers folded over greater and median coverts have white edges, creating a white line, this is also seen in the juvenile of Picture 3. Tertials are not buff-edged, the newly moulted plumage is very fresh in November. Still, the yoke patches and the cheeks are almost juvenile-like in this bird; it could be in its second year or a female. Turnstone 2c+, Dun Laoghaire 8.11.06. [CP]


adult turnstone, 8 november


Picture 8. Here an adult bird from behind, the buff band on the back is reduced. Straight culmen, slightly upcurved contour of carrying lower bill, the overall bill like the tooth of an excavator. Turnstone 2c+, Dun Laoghaire 8.11.06. [CP]


On January 9th 2007 some 100 Turnstones were checked for age characters at the North Bull, Dublin, Ireland. using 10x42 binoculars. On this particular day feathers were much ruffled by wind and i could study less than half of all birds clearly for a sufficiently long time. Among 42 individuals there were at most 7 juveniles = 16.7 %, indicating low reproduction in 2006 or a rather low overall reproduction rate. The colour variation is greater than indicated by my original pictures (wear is more crucial than colour for age-determination), i will add a few more pictures later on. In order to get optimal data one must study resting birds at high tide, preferably using a telescope. [CP]