Is a winter plumage in July possible?
QI am a keen 13-year-old birdwatcher, and I saw this wader on the Farne Islands when I took a birthday boat trip to see the various seabirds. I think it resembles a winter plumage Dunlin, but this photo was taken in late July. Please help me work out what this bird was! Daniel Meacock
AWe think you’re right Daniel, with the bill length and down-curved shape and general structure looking right for Dunlin. The reason it is in winter plumage is, of course, not precisely clear. However, sometimes, if a bird is injured or unwell its body responds by shutting down energetically expensive activities such as moulting. This bird looks healthy now, though.