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A frequent species on stoney shores and around seaweed.


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The turnstone is one of Dorset's more familiar waders to those who know what they are looking at! They can be seen, often in small parties, on beaches usually feeding along the strand line. They also feed on stoney mudflats at low tide as they turn over stones and seaweed looking for invertebrates otherwise hidden; this of course gives them their name of turnstone. Although an Arctic breeding species they can be seen for most of the year here in Dorset.

The weekly reports show that although there are less reports between week 22 and week 29 in mid summer there are usually turnstone about even during the nesting season with non-breeding birds choosing to stay over here for the summer. Otherwise you can reliably see turnstone almost any time of year although most reports seem to come in August as birds return for the winter or are, perhaps, just passing through on their way further south; there is a further peak in May as the reverse migration takes place. During the winter months the number of reports drop but this may be due to under recording as they become a familiar feature of well watched sites.

With a more specialised feeding technique than most other waders it is, perhaps, not so widespread as some similar species as it requires particular habitat and so reports are mainly from areas with shingle beaches and stoney ground which means sites along the Fleet are favoured as well as the more easterly locations around Poole Harbour and along the shore of Poole Bay. Whilst preferring shingle they do also feed on sandy beaches where there is significant stranded seaweed.

I always found the exposed stoney mudflats in Bramblebush Bay by the ferry at Studland a good place for them. You need to look at low tide of course!


Common Name Turnstone
Scientific Name Arenaria interpres
Interest Level
Species Family Sandpipers

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes