KNOW YOUR DUNLIN
One reason why many relative beginner birdwatchers are ‘scared’ of waders is that there are so many different types and so many different plumages of each species. If you want to pick out the unusual among the flocks of shorebirds it is really useful to be familiar with the most common species. Easily our most numerous small wader is the Dunlin, and a good grounding in Dunlin is a good grounding in wader ID. In autumn, most Dunlin are juveniles (as above), dumpy, with a long, droopy bill, neat back feathers and scruffy black flank streaking (which is very variable). Become familiar with their structure, pattern and feeding style (and ‘beeej’ call), and when an odd wader comes along, you will know!