Thanks Wayne (and Darrell and Dave too). As usual your answer is most illuminating and I am appreciative. Trying to get better at looking for the oddity and not just writing birds off as whatever is expected even if mostly that is what they turn out to be. You made me smile with the catbird moniker as well. I love Chuck Philo's name for me.
On Fri, Aug 9, 2019 at 4:20 PM Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...> wrote:
> Hi, Laura - Catbird Lady: > > This bird has several features that resemble a Long-toed Stint, but two > features of the head and face are more typical of Least Sandpiper. > > 1. Most Long-toed Stints have some yellow on the base of the lower > mandible, and most Least Sandpipers do not. This bird appears to have an > all-black bill. > > 2. The face pattern of Long-toed Stints typically has the white > supercilium hooking down in front of the eye, and no dark line across the > lores, and the dark of the crown continues forward to meet the top of the > bill. Leasts usually have the supercilia meet at the top of the bill, > separating it from the crown, as well as a dark mark across the lores as in > this bird. > > The frustrating thing about trying to identify a Long-toed Stint is that > they have several features that generally differ from Leasts, but there is > some overlap in nearly every one. The only apparent exception is voice. > As the name indicates, Long-toed Stints have longer toes. However, there > seems to be a lot of variation in Least Sandpiper toe lengths, and some > birds with toes approaching LT Stint length have some of the plumage > characters of Leasts. > > Long-toed Stints tend to stand more erect, and look longer-legged, but > some birds. like yours combine this habitat with plumage more like Leasts. > > I get the impression that Least sandpipers vary more in plumage and body > proportions than most other sandpipers. I suspect that Long-toed Stints > also vary in some of the plumage features we depend on to separate them, > but currently in North America, a Long-toed Stint has to be recorded > vocalizing, or to be typical in ALL the features people look for, to be > conclusively identified. > > I have an image stuck in my brain of a birder in, say Thailand, picking > through flocks of Long-toed Stints looking for a vagrant Least, and > rejecting candidate after candidate for not being quite right: "That looks > like a Least but the bill looks a little paler at the base...: "That looks > like a Least but the line across the lores is not very distinct..." etc. > > In reality, I suspect that there may be as many stray Long-toeds to North > America as Red-necked Stints or Little Stints, but most overlap enough in > plumage with Leasts that we do not recognize them. > > Wayne > > On 8/9/2019 6:10:58 PM, Laura Paulson <laura...> wrote: > This lone sandpiper was at Ona Beach a few days ago foraging at the mouth > of Beaver Creek. It was small, Least Sandpiper-sized at a glance but it > caught my eye as seeming different, more upright and long-legged. A few > Westerns were in the area but not with it. Took lots of pictures and its > toes struck me as especially long. Maybe I just don't look at shorebirds > enough but I sure would be interested in any thoughts y'all might have. > Three photos and a video are at: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmFX6SHZ > > Thanks, > > Laura Paulson > Seal Rock, Oregon > >