Sanderlings and a Ruddy Turnstone

Sanderling (Calidris alba)
Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020

The Sanderling is the little white bird we see along the coast. It scurries after the receding surf collecting small invertebrates or probing the sand for small crabs, worms and mollusks. As the surf returns, they scurry back to dry shores. I think they are both interesting and amusing to watch.

In the US, we get to see Sanderlings along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts outside the breeding season. They breed in far, northern Canadian islands and peninsulas. Interestingly, the use the “broken wing” behavior to lure predators from the nest similar to Kildeer.

I’ve included a Ruddy Turnstone in this post. It too is a bird that we can see along coastal waters but breeds in the far north. They hunt by flipping over rocks, shells and seaweed; they eat insects, small crustaceans and bird eggs.

This Ruddy Turnstone is perched atop an interesting feature; a large, naturally formed pile of sea shells that continually replenishes itself. Homo sapiens can often be found foraging in this pile for decorative objects.

Info from Cornell Labs All About Birds: and

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Blind Pass Beach, Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020
Sanibel Island, FL; FEB 2020

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