I was out at the Manly wader roost yesterday photographing the golden
plovers - quite a few are now close to full breeding plumage.
As I was walking round the freshwater pond I came across a pair of
stints. The thing that immediately struck me about the two stints was
that plain-plumaged one appeared to be substantially larger than the
chestnut-plumaged one. I observed them for less than a minute before
they flew away [took 3 photos in 10 secs] but didn't get to see their
When I got home, I consulted Pizzey & Knight 7th ed, Morecombe 1st ed
and Hayman et.al. From an identification viewpoint, the information
contained in these three guides was incomplete and inconsistent. For
example, P&K gives the impression that [in the case of Red-necked
Stints] the primaries are shorter than the tail when the wings are
folded, while Morecombe notes that the primaries are longer than the
tail, and Hayman appears to be silent on the matter.
The both stints had chestnut on their scapulars [much more on the
smaller bird] - inconsistent with P&K. [The large stint has a small
amount while the smaller stint had extensive chestnut].
The larger stint had primaries longer than its tail, while the smaller
stint had primaries about the same length of its tail. The smaller
stint appeared to have a finer tipped bill, and a smaller more rounded
In the case of the smaller stint, the lores, ear coverts and the back
of the head/neck were chestnut, streaked black. The chin and throat
[based on a 3/4 view] were white. There was a pale mantle line.
There was some chestnut on the mantle, and extensive, bright chestnut
edging on the scapulars and tertials. Many of the scapulars were
tipped white, which may be a sign of wear, but the feathers didn't
appear to be messy.
Hayman (pp 369-70) notes that scapulars of Little Stints in breeding
plumage "have blackish centres and bright mid-chestnut fringes,
tipped whitish-grey when fresh. Tertials brownish, edged pale
chestnut. Wing-coverts mostly pale brown, fringed fairly deep
I can forward pictures of the pair to anyone who is interested.
To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)