possible Little Stint

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David Lawrie
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Re: possible Little Stint

Postby David Lawrie » Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:10 pm

The big twitch today
IMG_2865.JPG (123.93 KiB) Viewed 793 times
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Re: possible Little Stint

Postby Davidthomas » Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:35 pm

Reminds me of the broad-billed sandpiper twitch from a few years ago! Great stuff David. Will do my best to make it up there before the little guy heads off.
Ian Southey
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Re: possible Little Stint

Postby Ian Southey » Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:11 pm

These are some pictures from last Saturday's twitch. This moulting adult Red-necked Stint is for comparison, looking a bit more like the target bird than the much greyer juveniles.
Red-necked Stint 1.jpg
Red-necked Stint
Red-necked Stint 1.jpg (206.91 KiB) Viewed 715 times
Little Stint 2.jpg
Little Stint
Little Stint 2.jpg (307.81 KiB) Viewed 715 times
Little Stint 1.jpg
Little Stint
Little Stint 1.jpg (343.07 KiB) Viewed 715 times
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Re: possible Little Stint

Postby gmckinlay » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:47 am

This may need a new thread, but reading of this new NZ little stint, I started looking more closely as some of the red neck stints here in Palau. There are good numbers here in Palau, and I have assumed they are all red-necked.

I quickly found this one, which does look quite different. I also found a very similar one in photos that i took at the same time last year.

Assistance please as to how to determine if this is a little stint, or certain plumage stage of red-necked. What source would provide a good guide for this species pair. I have numerous guidebooks, but am not finding any sufficiently clear on some of my questions.

The bird has many of the features for little stint described in various sources: white mantle lines, double supercilum, white throat. The bill also looks slightly different in shape, but how this looks depends on the angle. The bird is in an empty fish farm pond, so the photos are taken from an angle above, which may distort body and bill shape a bit.

Step one would be good guidance on how to decide the age of the bird. I cannot figure out if this is a juvenile or adult transitioning from breeding plumage. There are a confusing range of plumages at this time of year.

Secondly are there diagnostic differences in tail/wing position/length and if so exactly how do I identify those?

Thirdly, and without wanting just opinions, is the identify of this bird be confirmable and what features serve to demonstrate that?

Thanks in advance for all help.
Note I do have a lot more photos if needed.

Glenn McKinlay
20190919_Airai_Stint_GroupC-1480418.jpg (223.64 KiB) Viewed 659 times
20190919_Airai_Stint_GroupC-1480349.jpg (323.53 KiB) Viewed 659 times
20190919_Airai_Stint_GroupC-1480262.jpg (308.11 KiB) Viewed 659 times
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Re: possible Little Stint

Postby gmckinlay » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:48 am

And one more photo
20190920_Airai_Stint_GroupA-1480188.jpg (271.84 KiB) Viewed 660 times
Steve Wood
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Re: possible Little Stint

Postby Steve Wood » Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:01 pm

Hi Glen,
I can see what you mean, it certainly does have that " little " look about it. A white mantle ''V"' looks quite clear and legs look quite long.
However not being an expert, and as the bird is not as obvious to me as the Nz bird, lacking the amount of bright orange on the fringes of the wing coverts and on the tertials, I wouldn't be 100% sure but would certainly lean towards 'Little' non breeding adult, if I had to say.
If you have any pics of this Stint with any others, the size comparison would be a good indication. Little being smaller, slightly longer bill and as I said longer in the legs.

Thanks for putting up the pics.

Last edited by Steve Wood on Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
David Lawrie
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Re: possible Little Stint

Postby David Lawrie » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:03 pm

i would agree that it looks good for a Little, but based on only one other sighting!!!, so limited experience.
it is paler than the NZ bird, which suggests to me that it is an adult, and that will be why it does not stand out.
Like Steve it would be interesting to get a comparative photo.
it is a very long way west. Do they ever get these birds in Australia?
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Re: possible Little Stint

Postby Davidthomas » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:14 pm

Aussie gets a few little stints a year I believe.
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Re: possible Little Stint

Postby RussCannings » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:42 am

Like Steve I would hesitate to be definitive on this one as:
1) The photos appear to be taken either in overcast conditions or when part of the mantle is in shadow (Meaning we don't get a full impression on the real colour tones from the photos alone
2) As others have noted, it's a darker bird than the Manukau one--if a Little this would mean it's more worn--which puts it closer to Red-necked in look
3) It's a stint! (Most important point)

I'd say it's definitely a juvenile based on the uniform body/wing plumage, with no sign of faded breeding plumage or in-coming basic. While it has traces of some of the features one looks for in juv Little (pale Y-brace on the back), colour in the terials etc., it stills seems on the drab side, the dark centres to the outer coverts are quite thin, and the face/neck lacks the yellowish buff of classic Littles. The tertial borders are also fairly thin and not remarkably bright. Most of all for me, it seems to have a more horizontal/rectangular/elongated profile. Not plump and round-bodied with a pointy rear which I associate with Little (though feeding can change posture of course). The bill also looks a little blunt-tipped.

So I would guess with juvenile Red-necked on this one. Here's a photo I recently came across from Beijing that I think might be relevant here:
stints.PNG (646.42 KiB) Viewed 555 times

Like David T said, Aussie gets a couple Littles most years--most come from the north coast (particularly Broome area, not surprisingly). I'd say Palau is well placed for vagrant Asian waders but probably gets overlooked (especially stints)--would LOVE to get there one day!

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Re: possible Little Stint

Postby gmckinlay » Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:37 am

Thanks all. The photos were taken in rain, except for the last one showing the right side, which was into the sun. Underexposed deliberately, to avoid clipping and the shots posted were exports from the unprocessed raw view. I have added two brightened up photos below

I thought it looked smaller than the single red-necked, but darker birds can look smaller (I did not get any good comparison shots).
Russ looks to be right on juvenile, but after pondering this a lot, I am still on the fence with this bird's species.

One thing that puzzled me is the grey fluffy areas on both sides. Missing feathers due to moult starting?

Dave Blakewell's DigDeep website is also excellent, including recent discussion of a juvenile little stint in Singapore: https://digdeep1962.wordpress.com/. To my eye the plumage looks more like plate 10 (little) than plate 9 (red-necked) from the Lars Jonsson plates. i.e. the lower scapulars and inner medial coverts in photos below, which I have brightened up from the raw version.

Generally the body shape looks elongate like red-necked, but the angles are from above, and the bird was feeding, almost always head down and stretched out. One photo below shows an alert posture, which looks quite different.
I may end up sending some photos to Dave Blakewell, because if a little stint it would be a country first.

Palau has been excellent for vagrant shorebirds, although with more observations it appears that many of what were considered vagrants pass through in small numbers regularly. This month has seen 31 shorebird species, including a small influx of broad billed sandpipers, plus a record count last weekend for the new shorebird IBA in Peleliu: 3132 shorebirds, including 1191 red-neck stints. 556 whimbrel, 392 turnstones, 355 gray-tailed tattlers and 339 sandplovers (greater predominate). The challenge is to get that site formerly protected, and Palau needs to be included in the list East Asia-Australasia Flyway countries.
20190920_AiraiStint_Brightened-1480218.jpg (458.01 KiB) Viewed 492 times
20190919_AiraiStint_Brightened-1480349.jpg (596.27 KiB) Viewed 492 times

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