There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Calidris alpina

Medium-sized sandpiper
Black bill, heavy at base, drooped at tip
Black legs
Winter plumage:
    Dull brownish-gray upperparts
    White belly
Breeding plumage: (photo below)
     Reddish-brown back and cap
    Black belly

Listen to its call.

I almost missed this guy yesterday when I was down at the shore. It was the only one of its kind amid a group of larger shorebirds. Its dull gray colouring blended with the surrounding rocks and it was only the shape of its bill that drew my attention.  The Western Sandpiper has a simliar bill and appearance so, once again, I'm not certain of my identification.  However, I think the size of this bird was more in the 8" than 6" range.

Learn more about the Dunlin.

Additional photos:  
breeding plumage

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