Ian’s Bird of the Week – Temminck’s Stint

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Temminck’s Stint ~by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 12/31/15
Surprise, surprise, Facebook can be useful! I was contemplating a suitable species to wish you a Happy New Year, when I discovered from a post by Rohan Clark that Temminck’s Stint is the newest addition to the Australian bird list, one having turned up in Broome, Western Australia about a month. And no, I didn’t rush off there to photograph it: here are a couple of old photos that I took in India twelve years ago. So that satisfies the Old Year/New Year metaphor. You’ll have noticed by now that I’ll use any excuse as a metaphor to nominate a species as Bird of the Week.
This is probably one for the serious birder as small waders in winter plumage not only pose serious problems of identification but also fail to excite people who are into more dramatic plumages. That said, it’s distinguishing features are the down-curved bill, short legs and, in flight, the white sides to the tail. The latter is probably the best field mark, as it’s shared with no other members of the genus and easy to see in flight, even if it doesn’t show when the birds are on the ground. There are four species of Stints (see Typical Waders on Birdway) the Eurasian name for very small waders; comparable species of the same genus in North America are usually named Sandpipers, e.g. the Least Sandpiper  and are collectively, colloquially and somewhat disparagingly called Peeps after their calls.
Temminck’s Stint nest right across northern Eurasia from Norway to eastern Siberia. The short Arctic breeding season is something of a frenzy, as Temminck’s Stints of both sexes are territorial and serially bigamous and sometimes fit in three clutches with different mates. They winter mainly in equatorial Africa and southern and southeastern Asia, with Borneo being the closest regular winter haunt to Australia. It is to be expected that they would sometimes overshoot their destination and there have been several reports of them in Australia in recent years but none has been accepted until now.
Coenraad Temminck was a Dutch ‘aristocrat and zoologist’ born in Amsterdam in 1778. He was director of the National Museum (then the Rijksmuseum) of Natural History in Leiden from 1830 until his death in 1851. He made a huge contribution towards the classification of birds and other vertebrates at a time when the species and type concepts were contentious. He inherited a large collection of bird skins from his father who was treasurer of the Dutch East India Company, so it would be easy to imagine that his specimen of the stint came from Indonesia.
Sixteen bird species still include his name as part of the scientific and/or common name, including the Australian Logrunner (Orthonyx temminckii), which as featured as bird of the week before. He also make a fundamental contribution to biogeography, though his views on the divine aspects of species design and their unchanging nature proved unpopular with other scientists after about 1840.
You nearly got the Eurasian/Winter/Pacific Wrens as bird of the week as today I’ve got as far as the wren family page in the website redesign. I’m switching from BirdLife International to the IOC for classification and the IOC splits the old Winter Wren of the almost the entire Northern Hemisphere into Old World (Eurasian Wren) and New World (Winter and Pacific Wrens , which also suited the Old Year/New Year transition nicely. However, the Eurasian Wren has featured as bird of the week before in the guise of Winter Wren so you ended up with an obscure wader instead.
I send you very best wishes for the New Year and a rewarding 2016 and don’t make your New Year Resolutions too ambitious!
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au

Lee’s Addition:

“If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; (Deuteronomy 22:6 NKJV)

Well, Happy New Years to you also, Ian. We look forward to your newsletters again this new year. Thanks for letting our blog share your very informative articles along with super photos of species. Many of those species we have never heard of, let alone have the opportunity to see. Thanks for sharing.


Ian’s Bird of the Week articles

Ian’s Scolopacidae Family

Scolopacidae – Sandpipers, Snipes – Stint Family

Good News


Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis) by Ian

Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-necked Stint ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 04-01-09

This time of the year, almost anywhere in the world, is a good time to go looking for waders. Not only does the (northern) Spring migration mean that unusual species can turn up, but many of these migrants are acquiring their breeding plumages. So, if you’ve ever been faced with the daunting challenge of identifying waders in their drab winter plumage, you could be in for some pleasant surprises.

Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis) by Ian in breeding and non-breeding plumage

Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis) by Ian in breeding and non-breeding plumage

A case in point is the Red-necked Stint, a common non-breeding visitor to Australia, where the plumage is normally anything but red. The bird in the photo is in partial, or ‘pre-breeding’, plumage with the delicate
pinkish-chestnut face and breast and the black and chestnut wing coverts. A dapper little bird by any standards, I think.

‘Little’ is the operative word. Stints – there are 4 species – are the world’s smallest waders and the Red-necked Stint with a length of 13 – 16 cm/5 – 6.3″ is slightly smaller than a House Sparrow (14 – 16 cm). Size doesn’t stop it being one of the champions of migration, breeding in the Arctic tundra of Siberia and northern Alaska and spending the northern winter in Australasia and as far as south as sub-Antarctic islands.

At this time of the year, the birds are feeding madly, building up their fat reserves for the long trip. Apparently, they can lose half of their body weight during the migration.

The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that the photo was taken at Boat Harbour during a brief visit to the Sydney region earlier this week. It’s tax time and I went to Boat Harbour after a meeting with my accountant in nearby Sutherland. To my friends in Sydney I extend an apology that I didn’t have time to catch up with them.

Best wishes,

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:

Storks, doves, swallows, and thrushes all know when it’s time to fly away for the winter and when to come back… (Jer 8:7)

This is one of the catch-up newsletters I am finally finding time to do. Will be releasing several more of these in the next little bit. Finally have some time to work on them. See Ian’s Bird of the Week list to see  Ian’s articles. He will continue to do his current ones also.

The Stint mentioned was getting ready for spring migration, but of course this time of the year, they start preparing for their fall migration. I also went to Ian’s Birdway and found an extra photo. The Stint is in the Scolopacidae Family of Sandpipers and Snipes. The Scolopacidaes are in the Charadriiformes Order which has 19 families.


Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-necked Stint