Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury

Bird sighting information. Use this forum to report bird sightings (especially rare and unusual birds), census and field count results, and trip reports. Messages posted to this forum will also be sent as a plain text email to the BIRDING-NZ newsgroup.
Bev Alexander
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:06 pm

Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury

Postby Bev Alexander » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:20 pm

4 Canterbury birders when to Jarvis Rd, Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury ,yesterday & after much searching managed to find the Sanderling that Kieran Rowe saw & photographed at the weekend. We also saw 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 1 Sharp-Tailed Sandpiper, 10 Red-Necked Stints, 8 Red Knots & 100+ B.T.Godwits. Good to see the migratory waders back. :D
mikullashbee
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:48 am

Re: Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury

Postby mikullashbee » Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:15 pm

Just thought i would share my sightings from the lake on Thursday. Its a great time of the year to check it out as the birds are quite concentrated at the moment. The track leading to the lakes edge is un passable by 4 wheel drives and that keeps the number of yahoos down out there. So no shooting or other disturbances out there at the moment. I spent both the morning and the evening there doing some photography. I walked in from the end of Embankment rd in the morning and was pleasantly surprised by the number of waders greeting me when i got close enough to get them in my bins. Although there was nothing too exotic i did see the following which was nice. There were 100+ Wrybill, 40+Red-necked Stint (in various plumages), 20 Banded Dotterel, 1 Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 15 Red Knot, 15 Ruddy Turnstone, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit and the Sanderling that Kieran found earlier in the season was still hanging out. Here are a few images from the day.
Cheers
Mike Ashbee
Christchurch
https://mikeashbee.smugmug.com
Image
Sanderling
Image
Red-necked Stint
Image
Wrybill
Image
Sandering
User avatar
Nick Allen
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:40 pm

Re: Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury

Postby Nick Allen » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:07 pm

The sanderling in the photos resembles none I have seen in the past, all bar one in other parts of the world.

In the absence of a photo showing comparative size or a video, perhaps someone with better ID skills than me could explain why it is a sanderling and not a very worn red-necked stint.
User avatar
Oscar Thomas
Posts: 350
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:15 pm
Location: Auckland
Contact:

Re: Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury

Postby Oscar Thomas » Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:39 pm

Looks completely typical for a sanderling to me Nick. If you compare with the stint in the photo below it the difference in structure and bill length is obvious. Also looking at other photos of non-breeding sanderlings can help.
Oscar Thomas - https://www.instagram.com/oscarkokako/ - Latest NZ Lifer is Grey Plover (177)
mikullashbee
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:48 am

Re: Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury

Postby mikullashbee » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:38 pm

Hi Nick, I could see how someone unfamiliar with Sanderling could be thrown by these photos. It is a lot easier to see the differences in the field. The first thing you will notice is the bird is much larger and paler than even the most worn Red-necked stint. If you go out looking, look for the larger white bird. It sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the Red-necked Stints. I will attach and image of the two species taken that evening. This will demonstrate Oscars remarks regarding the differences in head shape and bill structure and length.
_DSC1509-Edit.jpg
_DSC1509-Edit.jpg (208.72 KiB) Viewed 882 times

Red-necked Stint on left, Sanderling on Right
Hope this close up side by side image makes the differences more obvious to you.
Cheers
Mike Ashbee
Christchurch
User avatar
Nick Allen
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:40 pm

Re: Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury

Postby Nick Allen » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:18 pm

Actually I've seen thousands of winter-plumaged Sanderlings in the UK, and remember none of them looking as plain/dowdy or as brown as this bird. The one I found at Ashworth's Lagoons about 20 years ago was a young bird and well-marked. I've already been out to look for this bird, without luck. I don't get to the Lake as often these days as I did in the past, unfortunately.

Anyway thanks for the better side-by-side head shots and comments re size. It's interesting that a bird I would expect to be as pale as a Wrybill in non-breeding plumage would look so beigey, and hide its dark lesser coverts (the 'elbow') so well.
mikullashbee
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:48 am

Re: Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury

Postby mikullashbee » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:57 pm

Hi Nick,
I didn't realise you had seen so many. I retract my statement then. This bird looks quite similar to hundreds if not thousands i have seen passing south along the west coast of North America in the fall. Perhaps the birds are in a different stage of moult or wear when they are in the U.K. I have photographed dozens of individuals on the Washington and Oregon coast both in spring and fall as the migrate through. I will share with you this image from Washington in September of an individual who looks quite similar (and not uncommon) to the one currently at lake Ellesmere.
Cheers
Mike Ashbee
Image
Sanderling from Washington state
User avatar
sav
Posts: 568
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:49 am
Location: Havelock North
Contact:

Re: Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury

Postby sav » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:13 pm

Hi Nick, Mike and all,

I think it was a pretty fair question in the first place. The bill length isnt much help because RNStints are so variable. The general plumage tones and even individual feather tracts are very similar, but I think there is one fairly easy distinction: pale lores on Sanderling and a dark loral stripe on RNS.
No?

Cheers
Sav Saville
Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ
Great Birds, Real Birders
mikullashbee
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:48 am

Re: Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury

Postby mikullashbee » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:16 pm

Definitely a fair question. A 2 dimensional image with no other birds in the frame for reference doesn't lend itself for a simple diagnostic. Nothing compares to seeing the birds side by side in the field. I suppose i have never thought too much about what separates these two species (other than overall size which wouldn't help without another bird to reference)) because in NA where i was living it would be so rare to see a RN Stint. From looking back through some images of Sanderling it would appear non-breeding adults have pale lores but juvenile birds can have dark lores. However because of the more distinctive markings of the juvenile Sanderling it is probably less confused with a RN Stint in non-breeding. See image of Juvenile below.
Image
Juvenile Sanderling showing dark markings on lores, Victoria, British Columbia in September
Jan
Posts: 1328
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:43 am
Location: Christchurch

Re: Lake Ellesmere, Canterbury

Postby Jan » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:29 pm

At Yarrs wetland this morning before the scorching temps. started I was part of the summer wader count.
There were:
Red-necked Stint 50
Wrybill 18
Sanderling 1 [very like the one from previous psts above]
Sharp-tailed Sand. 1
Bar-tailed Godwit 7

Return to “Bird Sightings and Alerts”