Distribution Britain 569 (+20.6%) Ireland 69 (+7.8%)
Numbers breeding: Britain 9,500 Ireland 175
European status: 350,000 (3% in Britain and Ireland =4)
British population trend: recent declines reported
How likely are you to record it? 58 squares (1.3%) Ranked 111= [93=]
The most common wader on our winter estuaries but the breeding population is less than 10,000 pairs. There were more in the 19th century with lowland breeding birds in some areas of Ireland, along the coast of Cheshire, Lancashire, the Solway and Fife even on heathland in Lincolnshire. These birds had mostly gone by 1950 but there are very significant and dense populations in the Western Isles on the machair. Other upland populations are sparser and some have suffered from afforestation. The few Irish birds, breeding evidence in only 22 squares in second Atlas compared with 39 in the first, are divided between the small amount of local machair and upland sites. Breeding birds in Devon, Cornwall, Wales, northern England and South-west Scotland are in steep (terminal?) decline. The recent discovery of feral mink on North Uist together with egg eating by hedgehogs is bad news. however, there are recent reports is that there may be more breeding in remote areas than previously estimated. Some cause for concern.
Hancock, M. & Avery, M. 1998 Scottish Birds: 19, 195-205.
Rae, R. & Watson, A. 1998 Scottish Birds: 19, 185-195
The following Bird On! picture is available:
Dunlin (35mm Colour Slide by Roger Tidman)
The following Bird On! sketch is available:
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From The State of the Nations Birds
Copyright © 2000 by Chris Mead