It was August 2015 when we spotted Sanderling (R6WYWR). We were on one of our regular visits to the coast in north Norfolk, between Thornham and Brancaster. We were lookng for some of our early winter visitors and autumn migrants on their way south from the summer breeding grounds.
There were lots of groups of waders feeding as they were being pushed up the beach on a rising tide. In one of the groups we spotted a sanderling still showing signs of its breeding plumage. It was noticeable because of a number of rings and flags on its’ legs.
Sanderlings (Calidris alba) are know for their long-distance annual migrations. They are mainly a shorebird of the intertidal areas. Along this stretch of the Norfolk coast they are found on sandy beaches, running in and out of the surf like a small clock-work-toy.
I reported the sighting to the International Wader Study Group, where there is a group running a Sanderling Project. I started to find out more about the bird, all of which made fascinating reading. It’s now known as Sanderling number R6WYWR,
The International Wader Study Group research looks at annual and seasonal survival probabilities of sanderlings, They study different migration strategies and (breeding) behaviour. Since 2002, the researchers have ringed more than 6.000 sanderlings. All the sanderlings are ringed with four colour-rings and a flag of different colours.
Sanderlings of the East Atlantic flyway are colour-ringed between their breeding grounds in northeast Greenland and the non-breeding locations on the coasts of West Africa. From the data collected and published by the group, it would appear that Sanderling R6WYWR, weighing just 59g, has travelled incredible distances in its’ life.
Sanderling number R6WYWR, was first observed on Oct. 8, 2010, just west of Axim Ghana. To be in Ghana it would have had to have flown down from the Arctic a least once. Since then it’s been sighted in Finistère, France on Aug 12 2012. This was probably on its’ way back to Ghana. Then it was observed in Faro, Portugal on 25 April 2014 presumably on its’ way to breed in the Arctic.. Its been spotted 35 times in Ghana, Africa.The last time this year on 04 April 2015. Then it flew on to the Norfolk coast on 8 Aug 2015 where we observed it, feeding up for its journey back to Africa. After its stay in Norfolk it was observed on a further two occasions finally on the 2nd December 2015, The only thing not known about Sanderling (R6WYWR) is it’s sex.
Life history: Sanderling R6WYWR
|metal ring||GHL B02424|
|first capture||2014-11-16 by Alfred Nuoh Ali|