The call came in from Rich Stallcup about a bird that he had identified as a Long-toed Stint! This sandpiper was found on the afternoon of Oct. 24th at the Limentour Beach at the Point Reyes National Seashore. I arrived the next morning and got these videos. At the end of the video, you will see numerous Sandpipers feeding in the water. Those were Least Sandpipers that I filmed moments after the Stint, but on the other side of the dunes, in the bay.
Aspects about this bird that stood out to me in regards to the identification between the Long-toed Stint and the Least Sandpiper are as follows: The bird in these videos seemed very pale on the breast, more so than any Least Sandpiper that I can remember. While there was a bit of a line of demarcation between the breast and the belly, it was very subtle at best. The bird showed very fine thin streaks across the breast, most easily seen at the sides of the breast or neck. Every once in a while, I could see a faint wash of a “clay” color at the sides of the neck. The bill seemed very large at the base and too long for the typical Least Sandpiper. The way the bird moved was quite unique. The sandpiper would typically step amongst the plant matter quite gingerly with very deliberate actions almost like it didn’t want to tangle its toes. When on the sand it would move in a way that reminded me of a Spotted or Solitary Sandpiper, meaning that it would run with its head held up and forward and would run in a rather jerky fashion. At the end of each sprint it would often do a quick little tail bob that imparted a “Tringa-like” feel to me. The legs and toes looked “pea” or “moss” green. The toes appeared very long, thin and sometimes sort of “in the way”. The central tow looked as long or slightly longer than the tarsus. The tibia was always fully exposed and the bird seemed to lact the mouse-like look of a Least Sandpiper. The face, especially the front of the brow was very white, like headlights when the bird ran towards you. This white area was split down the middle by a dark greyish line that met the upper mandible. The base of the lower mandible was a dark moss green that contrasted a little with the black of the upper. The wing coverts, while usually covered by the back and scapular feathers were very dark centered with worn yet warm rusty edges to all of the feathers. The back feathers were greyish with rather distinct dark centers and the scapulars were also grey but with slightly blacker central spots. The crown showed grey with rather bold black streaks that ended abruptly at the nape. The wings and the tail tip appeared to be equal in length. I could see no primary flight feather extension beyond the tips of the tertials. The chin and throat were unmarked white. I did not hear the bird call.