Monday, 22 August 2016

Stints galore!

With the sea having been poor over the weekend, I elected to do a quick smash and grab in my woodlots Monday morning before I would have to head home and get on with some work. The worn adult Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica was still present in one of them, but that remained pretty much the only migrant on offer.

A stop at Tu Cheng once again failed to produce any of the larger waders that had been present there in recent days, but my first juvenile stint of the autumn turned out to be yet another Little Stint Calidris minuta, a species I am having a pretty good run on so far. This bird did have me quite puzzled for a short while, though, as despite having the full suite of features on show for Little Stint (namely strong orange tones throughout (especially buff-fringed coverts), split-supercilium, 'tram lines' on the mantle, noticeably 'leggy' appearance, and small size, including small-looking head (it was obviously much slimmer/more delicate than Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis when feeding alongside any), its rear end looked somewhat longer than had those of the recent adults and its bill was rather shorter and less fine. However, whilst most juvenile Red-necked Stints show split-supercilium and 'tram lines' of varying prominence, they are typically rufous only on the upper scapulars, and these contrast with the lower scapulars and coverts which are predominantly pale-fringed and grey-centred with prominent black central shaft streaks and arrowhead markings near the tip. They also have more sullied greyish-pink breast bands and more gradually tapered, bulkier rear ends. Solid black feather centres and liberal warm fringing above, together with orange at the breast sides, make this one a Little Stint. I guess the slightly shorter and subtly more 'blob-tipped' bill must have something to do with this one being juvenile.

In addition to this juvenile, the small pool also held two further moulting adult Little Stints (at greater range), numerous Red-necked Stints (some with still quite a lot of summer plumage retained) and abundant Long-toed Stints Calidris subminuta, and no fewer than four Temminck's Stints Calidris temminckii. This is more stints than you could shake a stick at, but still no sign of my Yank!

The heat had become horrendous by noon and the haze (even over such short distances) apparent in photographs. Happy to have gotten something on my camera for the day, I was more than content to beat a hasty retreat home! Above photos taken in Qi Gu and Tu Cheng, Tainan County 22/8/16.


  1. Wonderful post! Can you possibly provide photos with a molting LIST and RNST?

    1. Thanks for the comment, Gavin. I think photos of both should be in this blog somewhere, but not sure I have both together. A few moulting adult Little Stints are here:, I tend to pass over Red-neckeds when they are scruffy-looking, but I guess they might well be the one of greater interest where you are! There's no shortage of them here on passage, so it might give me something to do this autumn!