Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres, in breeding plumage

Lo Wai Munn had an exhilarating experience photographing the Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres, in April 2022. He wrote about his experience on Facebook and BESGroup is proud to share his account with the wider audience.

“When I heard of the appearance of the Ruddy Turnstone, I wasn’t too keen on them as I had pretty good photographs of them at Marina Barrage a few years back, but when they are in their breeding plumage, I couldn’t give it a miss. 🤭

When we were heading to our hired boat, a birding party had just returned and told us that there was only one left as the rest had flown off. Not a very encouraging news but at least there was hope, there is that one remaining bird. 😊

When our boat neared the rock, as informed, there was only one bird sighted at the edge of the rock. Thank you God, better than nothing, it was still there and we started firing away. However, as the boat drifted over the other end of the rock, what do you know? There were many of them! In all, we counted 11 of them. Yay!! 🥳

I had a very challenging hour photographing these birds not because they were constantly on the move but because the boat was constantly moving and to maintain aim on the bird was difficult. I took almost a thousand shots and 95% of them were not to my acceptable quality. 😅 It was a fun time nonetheless.

Big thank you to Pary for organising and everyone who went on this trip with me.”


Photo 1. This Ruddy Turnstone’s head/face is more brownish. Any idea why anyone?© Lo Wai Munn
Photo 2. A flight shot of the Ruddy Turnstone in Breeding Plumage. © Lo Wai Munn
Photo 3. The bird is well-camouflaged against the patterns on the rock. © Lo Wai Munn


The ruddy turnstone is a small wading bird that is now placed in the sandpiper Scolopacidae family (formerly plover Charadriidae family). The namesake turnstone describes the birds’ habit of turning stones with its bill to expose sand-hoppers, amphipods, small crustaceans or molluscs.  These birds can be found as far north as Southern China and Japan (Ryukyu Islands) and as far south as Tasmania and New Zealand but seldom seen in Singapore. They breed in cold latitudes and the breeding plumage is a surprise to bird photographers.


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