PICTURE 64: More clues to the above bird: "droplets" on primary covert tips (red "V"), fresh, grey-edged carpal covert and carpal remicle, white reaching the shaft of at least pps. 3 and 4 (red vertical bars). And last but not least: a few remaining feathers from the adult belly-patch! Many thanks to Chung-Yu Chiang for these pictures; everyone seeing them applauds the fact that he "got it all"! The left part of the pic slightly darkened in order to increase the contrast between white and black. [CP]
I can see that this particular document is being increasingly viewed by Asian
and American Dunlin workers; i am the target of a slow downfall of field pics from all over the northern hemisphere. The sad thing is that i can use so little of that material, because nothing is known about the provenance of the enigmatic birds shown. At this stage - after having presented some basic material - i prefer Dunlin pics from the breeding areas, or birds from migration and wintering with some likely subspecific designation.
There still are field "problems", where some expanded knowledge might be helpful. For example: all Asian and Nearctic Dunlin populations seem to experience better conditions for moult than European populations; there is time and food for moult already on breeding-grounds. Maybe there are fewer compromises in the overall schedule as a consequence, so that e.g. juveniles moult more completely? Brennan et al. 1984
were leaning on and referring to Prater, Marchant and Vuorinen 1977
when ageing juveniles of the subspecies pacifica,
apparently prepared to adopt the European moult pattern(s) for Nearctic birds - but their description of the method wasn't confidence-inspiring: they quoted "inner tertials" (these may be quite worn after New Year) while the text in Prater et al. mentions "inner medians". It would be very interesting to see relevant (focused on relevant parts) pictures of inner primaries, medians, primary coverts and juvenile feathers in general from the subspecies sakhalina, kistchinski, actites, arcticola, pacifica, hudsonia and arctica!
And the faces of sexes! If i get such material, i will either comment on a picture myself, or publish picture + comment (+ copyright note, if this is desired) - and comment on the comment where this is called for. All will be done in cooperation with each contributor.
A third example: from the original paper by Gromadzka 1989
it's e.g. evident that sakhalina
has "adult buff" coverts at some stage of the annual cycle. How about the Nearctic populations, in particular those migrating SW, by way of Japan, Korea and China (link 1
, link 2
)? Even if adult buffs are worn away in these areas already in autumn, they pop up anew with the growth of tertials in prenuptial moult, causing some confusion.
There is another theme of subspecific determination, the white on inner primaries
, i learnt my basics here, including the ranking-scale, from Wlodek Meissner. Pavel Tomkovich once told me that Japanese workers ranked sakhalina
when studying them on breeding-grounds in Siberia. This approach is not going to be of any use if there is no cline
(groups of birds with different average rankings) in the material. So, what were the Japanese results, which primaries did they study? And what is the pattern of Nearctic populations on inner primaries? Arcticola
has white to the shafts of inner primaries, as could be expected, but how about the rest of the Nearctic subspecies?
Next follows the general problem of subspecific determination based on other plumage characters in HUDSONIA-PACIFICA-ARCTICOLA
. The web offers a lot of semi-instructive pictures, e.g. Angus Wilson's
from New York, winter, Jean Iron's of a hudsonia
in breeding plumage from Lake Erie, Canada 8.5.2006 (bright-faced, white-tipped back feathers). And best of all: a picture by Mario Lavoie
from Ste-Pétronille, St Lawrence, Quebec 27.5.05. But one could wish for ten times as much, it would be very helpful! (Added here a site showing the distribution
From British Columbia Mike Yip's offers a pacifica
, 20.4.2004; chestnut, black, white on back feathers, almost fish-scale structure (like in a Knot), in addition i have found two pictures from US Fish and Wildlife Service
, i guess they show an arcticola.
The best arcticola
picture available is in a poster by Robert Gill and Rick Lanctot,
describing the fieldwork at Barrow, Alaska in 2005; very whitish face in a male, fine streaks on breast (warning: this is a slow server).
: Pictures of the "Sakhalin dunlin" Calidris alpina actites
can be seen in
Assessment of the impact of fauna
of the pipeline connected with the "Sakhalin-2" project. These pictures are of poor quality and allow no morphological conclusions, but the habitat descriptions are of great interest. Three good Japanese pictures
on Stint Fan
from 14.5.06 could show "sakhalina" in breeding plumage, two other Japanese pictures from May
are also on this site; cf. mantle feathers of pictures 16 and 18 above, also note absence of cap and light breast-streaking. A light-faced, but alas rather unsharp sakhalina
can be seen in Ruud & Kitty Kampf's homepage,
a better sakhalina
picture from breeding grounds at Anadyr, Chukchi Peninsula 11.7.06 is offered by Augusto Faustino on Oriental Bird Images
(a nearly ten-day-old juvenile was obviously ringed the same day, hatching only a few days earlier than Dunlin breeding >800 m a.s.l. in N. Lappland, Sweden).
And finally: SCHINZII-ARCTICA
: From Palaearctic areas we have Dick Newell's alas rather unsharp pictures of a
bird in breeding plumage; 12.7.2002, it is white-edged on back feathers, and short-billed - but gender may be involved. His pictures on
are better; they show arctica
birds from Longyearbyen, 12.7.02, referring to "Birds of the Western Palearctic" to confirm the subspecies determination. From Alftaness, Iceland
three pictures by Gudmundur Geir (note the instructive young bird), four other Iceland pictures
are by Jakob Sigurdsson; note heavy streaks (dots, blotches) on breast and yellowish mantle fringes in schinzii
birds - but there is some variation, and i'm not sure that all pictures show schinzii.
Finally a probable schinzii
from Ireland, a bird in summer plumage 2.8.05, by John N. Murphy
. A possible arctica
26.5.06 belongs here, note very light edges to back feathers, small belly patch. A second picture
from the same locality, 11.5.06, four specimens, and i assume all four are considered to belong to the Greenland subspecies. There is some breast-streaking (as much as in one of Sigurdsson's Icelandic pictures) and some belly-patch, but the pixel content of the pictures is low, magnification doesn't add more detail.
breeds in the Caithness area, too.
I could add a sort of concluding warning: in general i can see that most of the breeding-area pictures (from all over the world) show birds standing on their toes, stretching whitish necks, watching intently, even trilling. They depict males
disturbed in their territories, the Dunlin female remains an incognito being.
I feel pretty safe about my webmail address firstname.lastname@example.org
, Google can handle spam, so use that address in communication! [CP]
To "Studies of migrating Dunlin
in the Sound area, S. Sweden: Introduction"
To "Phenology and biometry of Dunlin
migrating by way of the Sound area, S. Sweden"
To "Migrating Dunlin
in the Baltic area: the moult issue"
To "Risk-prone or risk-averse? Dunlin
migrating with and without moult-gaps in the Baltic area"
To "Wintering and spring staging Dunlin
in the south Baltic area"
To "Migratory progress of juvenile and adult Dunlin
from two perspectives: the Baltic and the Waddensea"
To "Bill-length distributions in Dunlin
To the bill account
To the Meissner scale
To Dunlin references A - J
To Dunlin references K - Z
To wader literature list A - L
To the Dunlin literature list M - Z
Back to start page
First published 24.7.06, link added 30.1.07, last text change 11.1.14, all links will be checked and corrected in February 2014.