On my recent trip to Scotland,I enjoyed a lovely walk on the beach at Balnakeil Bay near Durness in Sutherland. About as far to the NW of the Highlands that you can get without having to take a ferry.
It took me ages to identify these little chaps as I am used to seeing them in Winter with much paler plumage. They are Sanderlings.It being June,they were in breeding plumage although they were a long way from the arctic breeding grounds
Sony Alpha 350 DSLR and my new Tamron AF 70-300 tele-macro zoom at 300mm
The Sanderling (Calidris Alba) is a small plump sandpiper, 18–20 cm in length. Its weight ranges from 40-100 g. The winter bird is very pale, almost white apart from a dark shoulder patch. This is the source of the specific name, alba, which is the Latin for “white”. Later in the summer, the face and throat become brick-red. The juvenile bird is spangled black and white, and shows much more contrast than the adult. Sanderling behavior is distinctive, but visually, if the size is misjudged, a breeding plumage sanderling can be mistaken for some varieties of stint, or a winter plumage sanderling can be mistaken for a Dunlin or Red Knot. It can be told from other small wading birds, given good views, by its lack of a hind toe. (Source Wikipedia )