Long-toed Stint

Calidris subminuta

This pale-legged small peep is likely overlooked on the island. Records of this species occur during roughly 50% of the tour seasons on Saint Paul. Spring adults can pass through between May 18 and June 15. On rare occasions, such as the remarkable storm of mid-May 1998, dozens of individuals can occur. The bulk of sightings in recent years have come from fall, between July 28 and August 23. This species can be similar to Least Sandpiper in all plumages and care must be taken to confirm a suite of features to conclusively identify this species. In all ages, Long-toed Stints show a pale greenish base to the lower mandible, long neck and legs, dark forhead, split supercilium and a rufous tinged cap. The structural features given above make the overall shape of Long-toed Stint resemble to some degree a shrunken down Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, rather than a peep. Juvenile birds can be separated from Least Sandpipers by the aforementioned characters as well as by their distinctly two-toned wings, with dull lower scapulars and brighter upper scapulars. Adult birds in spring are brighter above, especially on the tertials than Least Sandpiper, and have white-edged median coverts. The flight call of Long-toed Stint is lower pitched than that of Least Sandpipers and can be a very useful identification feature. If one is lucky enough, it is possible to see that the feet do project slightly past the tail on a flying bird. Long-toed Stints are usually found around freshwater lakes, hiding in the emergent vegetation that surrounds the ponds. Recent records come from Pumphouse Lake, Webster Lake and Antone Slough.