Travels of a Migrant Dunlin

7th August. The day Hollowell Reservoir was ‘Dunlin-bombed’ by a record flock of around 440. Included among them was this flagged and ringed adult.

Spanish-ringed adult Dunlin, Hollowell Res, 7th August 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Spanish-ringed adult Dunlin, Hollowell Res, 7th August 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Based on the flag colour and ring combination, initial research revealed it had been trapped and ringed in Spain and this was kindly confirmed today by Edorta Unamuno, Coordinator of projects in the Urdaibai Bird Center in the Basque Country, close to Bilbao. It was trapped there as a migrant during the third week of May this year but where has it been since?

Spanish-ringed adult Dunlin, Hollowell Res, 7th August 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Spanish-ringed adult Dunlin, Hollowell Res, 7th August 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Spanish-ringed adult Dunlin, Hollowell Res, 7th August 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Spanish-ringed adult Dunlin, Hollowell Res, 7th August 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Spanish-ringed adult Dunlin, Hollowell Res, 7th August 2015 (Bob Bullock)4

Spanish-ringed adult Dunlin, Hollowell Res, 7th August 2015 (Bob Bullock)

Racial identity might give us a clue but its worn summer plumage (it has even already grown a grey winter scapular) makes it difficult to be certain as to whether it’s a schinzii or an alpina. Both races could easily occur in Spain and the UK – schinzii breeds south-east Greenland, Iceland, southern Norway, Britain, Ireland and the Baltic and alpina breeds northern Scandinavia and the USSR and both occur in winter in the western Mediterranean.

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