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Stumbling over a Stint!!

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Old Wednesday 7th April 2004, 18:53   #1
Binocularface
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Question Stumbling over a Stint!!

Hi

Today I photographed a sandpiper at Bowness on Solway, Cumbria. I am fairly sure that
it is a little stint, however there are a few things that make me question
this. The bird appeared quite short-legged, it shows dark centres to the coverts and tertials, there is no
hint of 'braces', the bird appears to have dark lores (giving quite a
contrasting head pattern), the bird has an incomplete breast band and the
coverts seem to be paler than the tertials.

I have attached some record shots of the bird taken today. I would appreciate your thoughts on this bird!

Regards
Tristan
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Old Wednesday 7th April 2004, 19:06   #2
Andrew Whitehouse
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I agree with it being a Little Stint - moulting from winter to summer plumage - and I know what you mean about the various features. All I would say is that they're bound to be quite variable in this sort of state, as a mixture of summer and winter feathers are present. I think most I've seen at this time of year have more of a breast band than this bird though.
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Old Wednesday 7th April 2004, 19:41   #3
Jane Turner
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Winter plum stints are extremely hard... I reckon that all my "scare" stints have been none Juv plum birds.

Agree it looks a bit stumpy legged, but I agree with you re ID.
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Old Thursday 8th April 2004, 10:39   #4
Joern Lehmhus
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IŽd also id this as a Little stint.

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Old Thursday 8th April 2004, 12:05   #5
Binocularface
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Hi

Thanks for all the responses so far on this bird.
The general consensus seems to be that it is a Little Stint in transitional plumage.
However I would still expect a Little Stint moulting from winter to summer plumage to show rufous edges to the new scapulars, tertials and covert feathers. This bird shows no hint of rufous colouration in it's plumage what-so-ever. The incomplete breast band also troubles me as I would expect a full breast band in Little Stint. The bird did not appear to have a very long primary projection.

I will try and look for the bird again this afternoon, I'll be looking closely at it's toes!

Regards
Tristan
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Old Thursday 8th April 2004, 14:14   #6
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Size is also an important factor, Little Stint is about the smallest Sandpiper we get here on a regular basis.
It is noticeably smaller than Sanderling, for instance.
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Old Thursday 8th April 2004, 15:14   #7
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I'm very baffled by this bird - Little Stint would (a) still be in winter plumage in mid April, and (b) even if it had moulted early, there ought to be a lot more orange/rufous fringing on the scaps & coverts, and also the upper breast feathers.

Those dark-centered, pale fringed feathers make me think more Semi-palmated, tho' I'm not committing myself to that as a certainty.

Intrigued about that split supercilium though, they shouldn't either of them have that so conspicuously.

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Old Saturday 10th April 2004, 20:31   #8
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Hi

Thanks to all for there helpful comments on this bird. I have also had a number of additional responses 'off forum' which have also been very helpful.
Armed with all this new info I managed excellent views of the stint and am now 100% sure that the bird is a Little Stint. The split-super is a good feature for Little Stint. Also the dark bases to many of the feathers is a feature only shared with Little Stint and Long-toed Stint- and this bird is certainly not a Long-toed!

The comment I made about the bird being in moult was guess work at the time,
as I assumed the dark centred scapulars, tertial and covert feathers were
new feathers. Having seen the bird at closer quarters I am fairly sure these
feathers are in fact retained Juvenile feathers.

This bird has been a real eye opener and a steep learning curve for me!

Thanks again for all your comments on this birds.

Regards
Tristan
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Old Sunday 11th April 2004, 17:07   #9
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Hi Tristan,
Retained juv.mantle feathers in APRIL??A real eye-opener,not to mention the short primary projection etc!
Can still remember not knowing what to call the only Little Stint I saw in 1999:a really tatty moulting adult in August that looked quite Semi-P-esque!
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Old Monday 26th April 2004, 07:48   #10
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Hi

Although I still think this bird is a Little Stint I would be interested in any opinions of the Tertial Length and exposed primary tip in relation to the tail (see image attached). Is this still within the range for Little Stint?

Regards
Tristan
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Old Wednesday 5th May 2004, 15:16   #11
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Question

Hi

I don't know if this helps or hinders, but here is a picture of a more typical Little Stint taken last weekend. Quite an interesting comparison anyway!

Regards
Tristan
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