September 2019. Isle of Wight, East cowes. Looking for food amongst the seaweed after the tide had gone out. © Peter Hillman
This little bird is like a mini bulldozer on the seashore as it nudges seaweed out of its way with its head in search of invertebrates hiding underneath it. Yet its names comes from its ability to lift stones and rocks in search of food.
During the winter months the Turnstone is dark brown above, with a black pattern on the face and breast, a white chin and white belly. In the summer it has a colourful, chestnut- and black-chequered pattern on the back. In flight it shows a white patch on the back, broad, white wingbars, and white patches at the base of the tail.
Small numbers may be seen all year round, but they are a common winter visitor to our coasts.
Class Aves (Birds)
Order Charadriiformes (Shorebirds)
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers & snipes)
Species Arenaria interpres (Linnaeus, 1758)
Length 21-24 cm
Wingspan 50-57 cm
Lifespan 9 years