Shore-line birds - Knot, Purple and Curlew Sandpipers

I was looking at some of Liz's earlier images (taken in October 2011 at Spurn Head in the UK) at a time when my mind was focused on the habitats and behaviour of Shore-line birds.


Her photograph of a group of Red Knot (right) feeding, provides an excellent illustration of the way these birds probe the inter-tidal mud for crustaceans and molluscs. They all have their beaks immersed as far as they can go. One even has its head half covered. They often move forward creating the impression that they are "ploughing" furrows in their search for prey.

The Purple Sandpiper (below) a winter visitor to the UK, tends to be found amongst the rocks and seaweed and is not seen on the inter-tidal mud which is the province of the Knot.


These birds become more active as the receding tide uncovers the rocks enabling them to sight and pluck their prey, which are arthropods and crustaceans, from the surface.


The Curlew Sandpiper (left) is a passage migrant in the UK. It takes insects and aquatic invertebrates by plucking them from the soft mud surface of the shore-line.

In contrast to the first two birds which keep to the shore or at least to shallow water, the Curlew Sandpiper will occasionally wade into the water to the point where its under-body feathers get wet.

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