This picture taken in Budle Bay, Northumberland has got me very confused. Is it a curlew or a whimbrel? The two are very similar apparently, though curlew are more common so that seems most likely, and my interpretation of the picture is that it looks most like a curlew. However the picture isn't quite good enough to be sure about the stripyness of the head – if it had clear dark stripes across the top (front to back) then that would indicate whimbrel. Also the bill is of a length and curviness that could be either, given all the videos and pictures I've looked at which show quite a lot of variability between both species and sexes. 

A major clue would be the size – whimbrel are much smaller – but I'm lacking context in the picture and it was a really long way away so it was hard to judge at the time. And to be fair I hadn't a clue what it was or how to tell them apart at the time so wasn't looking out for the tell-tale indicators. Overall I'm going for curlew, but am ready to stand corrected.

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