Around 5,000 Dunlin were on the sands today between Dove point and the western groyne along with around 300 Ringed Plover and 50 Sanderling. The Dunlin passing through the Wirral to all points north through the spring comprise of several different races. The taxonomic position of these races is at present in a state of massive flux with recent studies indicating the racial composition is not what it was previously thought to be. It is far too complex an issue to be addressed here but to simplify matters birds from the north-west of the range starting from Greenland are smaller, duller, and with smaller bills than those to the east. The further east the larger, more rufous above, and longer billed they get, and the darker and better defined their belly patch becomes.
Mark and Jane Turner have been studying the Wirral Dunlins extensively and have observed some interesting individuals amongst today's migrants.(photos attached)
|A very small, grey and short billed Dunlin with ill defined belly patch probably from the Greenland population. Race currently known as arctica. (photo MGT)|
|A large, long billed Dunlin probably from the East Siberian population. (bird furthest to the left) Note the broad Sanderling-type wing bar on this bird compared to the others, another feature of this population. (photo MGT)|