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Waders in Scotland (1 Viewer)

Mike Tom

Well-known member
After my last thread here are three more waders from Eigg, Scotland, this time in August 13. In my opinion they are a Dunlin, a Little Stint and then a mixture of Little Stint and Dunlin with the Dunlins beings the ones with slightly darker bellies. Am I correct in thinking Dunlin's have longer beaks too? Look forward to expert assessment, and happy to be corrected, although it would be great to be right ! Thank you for any help.


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Yep, correct on all :t:

In pic 4, juv Dunlin at far left, and adult Dunlin between the two stints.

You did well to find Little Stints that far northwest, the species has a strong southeastern bias in Britain.
Ooops, yep! Sorry! Caught out by size illusion - thought it was much closer. And also what looks superficially like a hind toe on the lifted leg, but I guess isn't.

Thanks all. I will settle for a dunlin -picture 1, a little stint, picture 2 and a sanderling on the right of the dunlins in Picture 3.
Number 2 looks like the same bird in number 3 to me... not sure you could rule out a Sanderling for the other bird in pic 3 either.
I can only see Dunlin and Sanderling in these photos. They're quite common on the beaches on Eigg. Little Stint would be quite a rarity.
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Agree with John,

No little stints here. In the same way as 'you know' when you see an eagle as opposed to a buzzard, you do the same with little stints but in reverse. Even though they are about 2/3 or 3/4 the size, they really do feel tiny in comparison to dunlin. The bills especially look small.

Also, there have been very few moving so far this autumn, with only the odd one going through Norfolk - a traditional hotspot for the species.
I still think the bird in the second image is a Little Stint, albeit one of the greyish variation. The delicate feel of the bird makes it jump out as a stint sp to me, compared to the more chunky feel of a Sanderling. But to try to make a few more specific points:

- The primary projection is visibly long; compare with the juv Sanderling in the third pic where the primaries don't even reach the tip of the tail
- The colour on the mantle and scapulars is a mixture of blacks, greys and browns with a hint of reddish/golden colour; compare with the juv Sanderling which is more grey/white on a black background
- The cap is dark brown; compared with the Sanderling which is black
- The supercilium is narrow compared to the Sanderling and splits on the crown
- The lores and ear coverts are dark brown; compare with the Sanderling which has a white spot behind the ear
Typically with birds in the far north at this time of year these are Sanderling just coming out of summer plumage so features are quite variable. Sanderling and Dunlin is all I see. Admittedly I've had to look twice at numerous lone Sanderlings in this plumage, however Little Stints really are tiny and once you see them with other waders it should become obvious, irrelevant of the finer plumage details.
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