We saw this little gang of birds standing on one leg and hopping around the harbour at Scarborough. As it stood there, you’d think an individual had lost a leg, then suddenly off it went, scuttling around the quayside on both legs, until it came to rest and resumed its one-legged pose.
What was it? This required resort to the bird book when we returned to the ‘van. The book showed the very bird – same plumage, leg and beak colour – a juvenile turnstone. Adult males can be much more brightly patterned in the breeding season.
It seems that thousands of turnstones spend winter around the coasts of the UK, and some non-breeding birds stay here all year.
And why the strange name? It’s obvious when you realise – they are frequently seen turning over stones in the search for food.
And apologies to the couple who overheard our first thoughts and went away thinking it was a dotterel, a rather larger bird!