DSC00007 - note white chin and throat, rufous wash across breast with dark streaking, unwebbed toes
Little Stint
Coos Bay North Spit, 
Coos County, OREGON

July 13, 2002 

Seen and video taped by 
Dave Lauten and Kathy Castelein

Photo commentary written by Dave Lauten.  Images on this page were captured by Dave and enlarged and brightened for HTML using  PhotoShop.

This page was put together by Mike Patterson and copied with some alteration to this site. --Greg Gillson--

Narrative Account

A July Little Stint from New York

DSC0002 - bird running away; note the prominent white V created  by upper scapulars on back

DSC00003 - bird is closest individual in the picture with head bent  back over shoulder preening; note the clear white throat not just chin

DSC00004 - bird walking left between Westies; note rufous hooded  look; note edging of tertials is rufous

DSC00005 - bird coming right at you; note split supercilium with  one line going up onto top of head and other extending behind eye;  note rufous wash across breast and note all streaking is within the 
wash; note white throat area

DSC00006 - again note rufous wash on breast and black streaks in  wash; note clearly no webbing between toes
[No photo supplied]
DSC00008 - bird is on extreme left leaving picture - note the rufous  edging on the tertails

Subject: STINT at Coos Bay (long)
    Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2002 22:33:23 -0700
   From: KACastelein and DJLauten <birdsong@harborside.com>
      To: "Obol" <obol@lists.orst.edu>

7/13 Coos Bay North Spit, Coos Cty

At about 12:25 PM we were finishing a beach survey at the south end of the Coos Bay North Spit, just north of the jetty (ca. 100-200 meters N of the jetty).  We encountered a flock of about 150 shorebirds.  We began scanning the flock when Kathy said to look at this bird with a red head.  I did not see it immediately amongst the WESTERN SANDPIPERS that made up the majority of the flock.  She then said that I should look through her scope, which I did.  I immediately saw a very unusual peep.

The peep was the same size as the adjacent Western Sandpipers, but was bright rufous on the entire head and across the breast, and the back was also bright rufous and black that contrasted, with a distinct white V down the back.  The legs were black.  I immediately knew we were looking at a STINT.  I got the video camera out and started to film.

Over the next 15-20 minutes were watched the flock as it moved back and forth up and down the first several hundred meters of beach north of the jetty.  On two occasions they roosted in the dry sand restricted area (for nesting Snowy Plovers) behind the ropes.  The bird was studied extensively by Kathy, and eventually I took good looks at it after getting substantial video.

The bird was the same size as the Western Sandpipers, and the black legs appeared the same size and length.  The bird did not look decidedly short legged.  The toes were not webbed.  The bill was black, short and pointy, and generally appeared straight.  It clearly was not as long nor as down turned as the Western Sandpipers.  The crown feathers were black centered and rufous edged, given the bird a black streaked head that appeared overall rufous.  The lore was dark, the eye black.  There was a supercilium that was buffy, not extremely clear but distinct.  Above the eye it split, one line going higher on the crown and one line going behind the eye.  The supercilium meet over the bill on the forehead.  The crown was bordered by the supercilium giving the crown a somewhat darker overall appearance.  The cheeks were rufous and had faint dark streaking.  The sides of the neck were rufous, extending down onto the breast, then washing across the upper breast.  The chin was white and the throat was white, giving the underbill area a distinct color difference from the surrounding cheek, neck and breast.  The black streaks got more intense and thick on the upper outer breast, and fine black flecks and streaks were across the upper breast.  All the streaks were within the rufous coloration with some black streaking on the side extending slightly into the white of the flank.  The belly and undertail coverts were white.  The neck and back feathers were black centered and rufous edged, making the upper back looked streaked. The scapulars were black centered; the inner edging of the upper scapulars was white, forming a distinct white 'V' on the back like a Least Sandpiper.  The outer edges were rufous.  The lower scapulars were edged rufous except for some white edging which almost formed a second, smaller white line.  The covert feathers were back centered and rufous edged.  The tertials were brownish-black centered and rufous edged.  The primaries were black and extended up to and slightly past the tail. The center of the rump was brownish-black, as were the uppertail coverts.  The center tail feathers were brown and the outer tail feathers were white.  The upper wing had white edging to the greater coverts former a white line down the wing.

The bird clearly is a RED-NECKED/LITTLE STINT.  There are several features of the bird that make it a little confusing.  The bird is particularly bright rufous overall, and may have a bit more rufous wash across the breast than might be expected of Little Stint.  However the overall rufous coloration with rufous edging on the tertials and coverts favor Little.  The white throat in conjuction with a white chin favors Little.  The bird does not have any grayish colored coverts or tertials which favors Little.  The prominent V favors Little.  The spilt supercilium favors Little.  Also the black breast streaking is within the rufous coloration on the chest and not mostly below it.  There also is some black streaking on the cheeks.  The bird's overall posture seems to favor Little also.

We called Tim Rodenkirk who did not have a four wheel drive to get out to the beach.  Later we met him and I took him out.  By then it was about 3:30 PM and the tide was coming in high.  We checked the jetty area and didn't find any birds (but there were people there).  We then headed north on the foredune road to the area where the New Carissa is.   This area of beach is known to Kathy and I as being the area the shorebirds like to roost and feed, and it often is the area where most of the shorebirds on the beach hang out.  Often there are several thousand birds here.  Tim and I arrived to find about 2000 birds there.   We began the search.  This area is some 2 miles plus north of the jetty.  We scanned through the flocks of roosting and feeding shorebirds, and finally after quite some time I found the STINT along the water.  We then had to follow it down the beach several hundred meters, but finally Tim got assume looks at it.  Amongst the shorebirds present were 2000 Western Sands, 200 or so Sanderling, and 150-200 Semipalmated Plovers.

The area is very reliable for shorebirds, so I think looking for this bird may be possible.  But you need to be aware of a number of important things.  First, to get there you will need a four wheel drive unless you want to walk really far in soft sand.  Be very careful of soft sand on the road, air down your tires, and bring a shovel (and other things if you have them).  Don't try this road without a serious four wheel drive!   With that said the road is very passable so don't let me scare you. You can drive out to the New Carissa overlook, park and walk the beach.   The beach can be driven down the New Carissa, but where the ropes start to the jetty is CLOSED TO ALL MOTOR VEHICLES AT ALL TIMES!  Do not drive down the beach or you risk getting a ticket (besides making a few people angry!).  You can walk down the beach and I highly recommend it, it is pretty and usually full of good birds.  Please be conscience of the Snowy Plover restricted area and please under all circumstances DO NOT WALK BEHIND THE ROPES!  Stay away from any exclosures you might see on the beach and do not linger around any.  With that said you should know that this beach is great for shorebirds in general.  Snowy Plovers use this beach all the time and with some careful searching you should see some.  If by some chance you encounter a flying, calling Snowy Plover, please back off as it might have chicks and you are already too close.  There is plenty of room for everyone and the plovers, just share the beach!  : )  The walk to the jetty is several miles but easy on wet sand and flocks of shorebirds can be anywhere, although they tend to be thickest by the New Carissa and the jetty, as well as just north of the jetty a quarter mile or so.  Another option is to park and walk around by the New Carissa for a while, and if you don't have luck continue down the foredune road, following it all the way to the jetty.  Check the jetty area from there and walk north.  It can also be very fun to walk out the jetty as it is smooth topped all the way out to the end, sticks out pretty far, is usually devoid of people, and usually full of birds.   Great looks at various birds can be had from here and one never knows what one might find.  It is a poorly neglected birding sight in the county.

To get to the entire area, you need to turn out towards the North Spit on the north side of the bridge on the north side of North Bend/Coos Bay.  Follow the Horsefall Beach St Park signs off Hwy 101.  At the end of the causeway follow the Transpacific Hwy to the right by the Weyerhauser Plant.  Then take the immediate left fork - ie, do not go into Horsefall St Park.  Go out the Transpacific Hwy, which eventually turns south and soon passes the aeration pond and effluent (another place to look for shorebirds roosting at high tide, and another generally great birding spot).  Pass the ponds, pass the boat ramp parking lot on the left (good bathrooms by the way), and soon after on your right is the entrance to the foredune road.  Lock the four wheel drive in and maintain speed (OH, by the way, you are required to have a flag on your vehicle, and I suggest you do for safety reasons)!  Follow the road out to the New Carissa Overlook, can't miss it, you'll see the rotting hunk of rusting scrap metal.  Good luck, and let us know if you see any good birds!

PS - tides, tomorrow, low - about 10:00 AM, high - about 4:30ish PM
PSS - trying to see if I can get some photos posted sooner or later.

Dave Lauten and Kathy Castelein
Bandon OR