Date: 11/5/18 2:21 pm From: Dennis Paulson <dennispaulson...> Subject: [Tweeters] Little stint at Neah Bay NOT
I can’t say how embarrassed I am. I took around 130 photos of the bird I identified as a Little Stint at Neah Bay on Friday, and I hadn’t had the chance to look closely at them until this afternoon. Having watched it for minutes at a time in a scope, I would have bet a lot of money that there were no webs on the toes, my ultimate field mark to be certain of the identity. But my photos say otherwise, as I can see small webs on a few of them where the feet are just in the right position. Of all the stints, only Western and Semipalmated Sandpipers have basal toe webbing.
It was a bird in full juvenile plumage, not a trace of molt into first-winter, and a Western in juvenile plumage in early November was astonishing to me, as they usually begin the molt into first-basic plumage in September and are finished with it in October. Such a plumage at the beginning of November might be astonishing for a Little Stint as well, but that’s why I looked much more closely at the bird. It was at the very bright end of the variation in color in juvenile Western Sandpipers, much more richly marked with rufous than any other of the many photos I have of the species. It was obviously a male, with a bill short enough to be possible for a Little Stint.
My only excuse is that my inclination would have been to come home with the photos and make sure of what I had seen, but I felt a tremendous pressure to report the bird so other birders who had the time could come out there and possibly see it. Tacoma sent quite a few of them, and my apologies for stimulating those who came to make that long drive. I can only hope you saw enough of the splendid avifauna of Neah Bay to have made the drive worthwhile.