Spring migration of Sanderlings Calidris alba through SW Iceland: Wherefrom and whereto?

Sanderling (Calidris alba) Science Article 2


The spring migration of Sanderlings Calidris alba through southwest Iceland was studied in 1989-1990. Additional information was collected during the spring seasons of 1985-88 and 1991. Ringing recoveries and controls, together with a large number of sightings of color-ringed birds, revealed that many Sanderlings staging in Iceland in spring spend the winter on the British Isles. Recoveries in winter as far south as Ghana (3 observations) indicate an extensive wintering range. Most Sanderlings arrive in Iceland after 10 May and the main departure period is 25 May-4 June. Sightings of individually color-ringed Sanderlings revealed stopover times of up to 15 days in one season. Many Sanderlings showed a high stopover site fidelity between years. The average departure direction was 355 degree , suggesting breeding grounds in northern Greenland. There were no indications that Sanderlings in SW Iceland participate in the migration across the Greenland icecap towards breeding grounds in northwest Greenland or northernmost Canada, as has been shown for Knots Calidris canutus and Turnstones Arenaria interpres. Our data suggest a substantial turnover of individuals, especially in the last week of May. At least a quarter of the northeast Greenland breeding populations of Sanderlings stage in Iceland in spring.

Gudmundsson G.A. & Lindstrom A., ARDEA 80 (3): 315-326.

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