That day I found lots of migrant waders near the river bed at Mulki where I had gone for bird watching. All these photos were taken using Canon EOS 5D Mark III fitted with Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L II IS USM and Canon EF 2X III Extender. I was hand holding this new rig for sake of flexibility and portability. That same day I also found a Wire-tailed Swallow about whom I have written a separate blog here.
Waders or shore birds are the names applied in general to aquatic or waterside birds belonging to the heterogeneous order Charadriiformes, represented in the Indian subcontinent by eleven families which include Jacanas, Plovers, Gulls, Courses, and a diverse assortment of other waterside birds. More specifically the names ‘Wader’ and ‘Shore bird’ are commonly applied to the family Charadriidae – plovers, curlews, snipes, sandpipers and such like birds that live around sea coasts, estuaries, and freshwater lakes and feed on aquatic invertebrates and vegetable matter in shallow water, or between tidemarks on the seashore, or on mudflats, or moist and inundated fields, etc. They mostly have long slender bills for probing in the wet mud.
The Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) is a wader in the large family Scolopacidae. It is one of the most widespread of the curlews, breeding across much of subarctic North America, Europe and Asia as far south as Scotland. This is a migratory species wintering on coasts in Africa, South America, south Asia into Australasia and southern North America. It is also a coastal bird during migration. It is fairly gregarious outside the breeding season.
It is mainly greyish brown, with a white back and rump, and a long curved bill (longest in the adult female) with a kink rather than a smooth curve. It is generally wary. The usual call is a rippling whistle, prolonged into a trill for the song. The only similar common species over most of this bird’s range are larger curlews. The Whimbrel is smaller, has a shorter, decurved bill and has a central crown stripe and strong supercilia. This species feeds by probing soft mud for small invertebrates and by picking small crabs and similar prey off the surface. Prior to migration, berries become an important part of their diet. It also eats blue butterflies.
The Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) is a small wader in the plover family of birds. It breeds in the semi-deserts of Turkey and eastwards through Central Asia. It nests in a bare ground scrape. This species is strongly migratory, wintering on sandy beaches in east Africa, south Asia and Australasia. This chunky plover is long-legged and thick-billed. Breeding males have grey backs and white underparts. The breast, forehead and nape are chestnut, and there is a black eye mask. The female is duller, and winter and juvenile birds lack the chestnut, apart from a hint of rufous on the head. Legs are greenish and the bill black.
The Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus) is a small wader in the plover family of birds. It breeds above the tree line in the Himalayas and discontinuously across to bare coastal plains in north-eastern Siberia, with the Mongolian Plover in the eastern part of the range; it has also bred in Alaska. It nests in a bare ground scrape, laying three eggs. This species is strongly migratory, wintering on sandy beaches in east Africa, south Asia and Australasia.
This chunky plover is long-legged and long-billed. Breeding males have grey backs and white underparts. The breast, forehead and nape are chestnut, and there is a black eye mask. The female is duller, and winter and juvenile birds lack the chestnut, apart from a hint of rufous on the head. Legs are dark and the bill black. Size is one of the factors distinguishing a Lesser Sand Plover from a Greater of the species with the Lesser Sand Plover being slightly smaller. Having said that, it is not easy to rely on size alone especially when seen individually. The length of the bill is another distinguishing feature with the Lesser Sand Plover generally having a shorter bill compared to a Greater Sand Plover. The colour of the legs in a Lesser Sand Plover is generally darker ranging from black to grey while it is much paler ranging from grey to yellowish for Greater Sand Plovers.
The Common Redshank or simply Redshank (Tringa totanus) is an Eurasian wader in the large family Scolopacidae.
Common Redshanks in breeding plumage are a marbled brown color, slightly lighter below. In winter plumage they become somewhat lighter-toned and less patterned, being rather plain greyish-brown above and whitish below. They have red legs and a black-tipped red bill, and show white up the back and on the wings in flight.
It is a widespread breeding bird across temperate Eurasia. It is a migratory species, wintering on coasts around the Mediterranean, on the Atlantic coast of Europe from Great Britain southwards, and in South Asia.
They are wary and noisy birds which will alert everything else with their loud piping call. Like most waders, they feed on small invertebrates. Redshanks will nest in any wetland, from damp meadows to salt marsh, often at high densities. They lay 3-5 eggs.
The Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) is a wader in the large family Scolopacidae, the typical waders. This is a subarctic bird, breeding from northern Scotland eastwards across northern Europe and Asia. It is a migratory species, wintering in Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and Australasia, usually on fresh water. Common Greenshanks are brown in breeding plumage, and grey-brown in winter. When in water, they can appear very similar to Marsh Sandpipers but are distinguished by the shape of the lower bill which gives it an upturned appearance to the bill. They have long greenish legs and a long bill with a grey base. They show a white wedge on the back in flight. They are somewhat larger than the related Common Redshank. The usual call is a rapid series of three short fluty notes syllabilized as teu-teu-teu.
The Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) is a large wader in the family Scolopacidae, which breeds on Arctic coasts and tundra mainly in the Old World, and winters on coasts in temperate and tropical regions of the Old World. It makes the longest known non-stop flight of any bird and also the longest journey without pausing to feed by any animal, 11,680 kilometres (7,258 mi) along a route from Alaska to New Zealand.
The Bar-tailed Godwit is a relatively short-legged species of godwit. Males average smaller than females. The adult has blue-grey legs and a very long dark bill with a slight upward curve and pink at the tip. The neck, breast and belly are unbroken brick red in breeding plumage, off white in winter. The back is mottled grey.
The Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) is a small Palearctic wader. It has greyish-brown upperparts, white underparts, short dark-yellowish legs and feet, and a bill with a pale base and dark tip. In winter plumage, they are duller and have more conspicuous barring on the wings, though this is still only visible at close range. Juveniles are more heavily barred above and have buff edges to the wing feathers.