Fw: Little Stint at Cheetham Wetlands

Subject: Fw: Little Stint at Cheetham Wetlands
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 13:07:56 +1100
To: ;
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 1:30 AM
Subject: Re: Little Stint at Cheetham Wetlands

Hi Mike,
I agree that Little Stints are sometimes found in reversed cycles in Australia, and we'd have very few records without such wierdos. But perhaps we are too ready to ascribe reversed cycles to them in some circumstances. The Ashmore Reef bird, for instance, could simply have started moult late - it looks like pretty worn breeding plumage, with the tertials either having started moult, or become so worn that the rufous fringes are not visible. I've seen the odd Red-necked Stint in NWA in full breeding plumage in early October, so it can happen to them too.
I'm not aware of major differences in typical moult sequences of adult Little and Red-necked Stints. There is a big difference in the first year {Little Stints moult all their primaries in their first austral summer and in Feb-May develop a first alternate plumage as brightly coloured as that of full adults; Red-necked Stints don't moult their primaries (except for the outer 1 or 2 in about 5% of Vic birds) and their first alternate plumage looks quite similar to non-breeding}. I can't see anything on the Cheetham bird that actually clinches its age; the outer primaries are too concealed to make any assessment of their wear.
I don't think the Cheetham bird could go greyer at this time of year (given its very fresh breeding plumage that is also responsible for the right-hand tramline) without doing something highly aberrant, which I cannot explain at all. If it weren't for that assymetrical plumage I would think two birds were involved. It would be great if further photos could be obtained as this odd moult progresses.
Cheers, Danny
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