Monday, 2 March 2015

Day 121 - Terrific Turnstones

Hi all today's Day 121 and a while ago I was at Whitby and I saw quite a lot of nature in the rock pools but also outside of them too. One of the most interesting things I saw was a little bird that I've seen once or twice before but I've never identified it. As I don't get to the coast that often I'm not that familiar with sea birds, for all I knew it could have been a Sandpiper, a Turnstone or a Sanderling. As it turned out it was a Turnstone. I should have guessed really as it was great to watch it dodging around bigger birds poking around and under the stones and seaweed.

A Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) with big ambition!
Anyway, let's get on with the facts:

  • Turnstones are found all around the coast of the UK apart from North-West Scotland but they are found along all Scottish islands.
  • They are only found here in the Winter after which they migrate back to either Northern Europe, Canada or Greenland.
  • They are small birds, smaller than redshanks, that are only 23cm long and have a 54cm wingspan. Both male and female birds only weigh 120g which is quite light. It's only about the same as a bar of chocolate!
Living up to its tanglepicker name
  • They are an Amber Status because they are an 'important non-breeding population'. There are only 51,000 wintering birds in the UK.
  • They are an unmistakable bird (apparently :-). In the Winter (when they're here) they are a dull-ish, dark-brown colour on the top and below they are completely white apart from the legs which are an orangey-browny colour.
  • They have some very interesting local names like Tanglepicker, Flipstone and Sea Dotterel.
  • They have a very long typical lifespan of 9 years but the oldest Turnstone ever was 22 years 3 months and 20 days old!
  • They feed on a very wide range of things. In the summer they mainly eat insects but at other times they mostly eat invertebrates and molluscs. They can also stretch to some quite weird things as well like other bird eggs, chips and even corpses of dead animals.
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


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