Originally Posted by THE_FERN
According to this
(and more importantly the British Birds article it references), barred outer tail feathers are indicative of Swinhoes. We can see this clearly on the left hand bird of photo two, and, as John says, there seem to be lots of thin bunched outer feathers on the right hand bird suggesting this is pintail. I also see a slight difference in wing length which agrees with this (but understand this is difficult to judge). My experience (and some photos) suggest that Swinhoe's may appear a bit paler in the field but this isn't definitive
Thanks a lot for your response The Fern, although this thread hasn't quite panned out the way I thought it might!
As regards my initial question in #1, I guess the answer to that (Is it Swinhoe's?) has to be 'Yes', then. I wondered if anyone might suggest Latham's (of which I can find no spread tail photos), on the grounds that (in addition to all the white) it appears to have fewer and broader tail feathers than 'the other snipe' (in #1).
To be a bit of a bore (sorry), here are some links showing what for me is the 'typical' tail pattern of Swinhoe's Snipe (mostly dark basally and either side of the orange feathers, with narrow outermost feathers), so you can see why I think the bird in #1 stands out:
However, as this last Swinhoe's Snipe shows a tail pattern more like the bird in #1 (and the link you provide suggests barred outer rects is indicative of Swinhoe's), I guess that will be 'case closed':
As regards 'the other snipe', I can see the cluster of narrow outermost feathers both you and John refer to, but think that they are precisely that: a small number of narrow feathers. I don't see the abrupt transtion from broad feathers to 'pins' I would expect on a Pintail, and it looks to me like the feathers between the pins and the central tail feathers are of intermediate width. As the photos in #1 are greatly enlarged from the originals (as is the enlargement below), I'm not sure that it is really possible to judge precisely what is going on there TBH.