Colour-ringed Sanderling Calidris alba on Stanpit Marsh 12 August 2009
Sanderling Stanpit Aug 2009 Jimmy Main
The above sanderling was seen and photographed just off the South Marsh, Stanpit on 12 August 2009. The bird was originally ringed at Asenko Village, Ghana on 11 October 2007. This is a distance of some 5093 Kms or 3166 miles! The bird was ringed by Edward Koomson of the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) as part of a long-standing study started in 2006. Other Ghanaian ringed birds from this study have also turned up on the Wash, some during spring passage (22-25 May) and others during the autumn period (17 July - 17 August).
Sanderling undertake probably one of the longest migrations within the avian world. Their main breeding grounds are in Greenland,Canada and Siberia and soon after they depart for NW Europe via Iceland. Most will stay to moult in such stopover sites as the Waddensee in Holland or maybe the Wash in England. They will then continue their migration along the Atlantic coast of Western Europe down towards Western Africa and finally onto Southern Africa where they will spend the winter. The following spring will then see them return to their arctic breeding grounds.
For more information about the long migration of the sanderling and its life history click here to read a scientific paper produced by the Wader Study Group.