Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Green-legged Red-necked Stint and other surprises in Mie

It's a funny old time of year, isn't it? An odd mix of summer visitors, migrants and winter visitors. At dusk a couple of days ago, when I was just about to start the long drive home from Mie, I picked out a couple of large waders I hadn't noticed on the estuary. They turned out to be Northern Lapwings and the earliest I've seen in Kansai. The fact that I was watching them sitting comfortably on the riverbank in just a T-shirt attested to that, spring birds linger into warm weather but I'm always wrapped up well before the first Lapwings turn up at the back end of the year.

But if that was a surprise, the day had begun with a far bigger one. One that doesn't fit into any of those seasonal bird boxes I mentioned. Who would expect a Turkey Vulture at a river mouth in Japan! No doubt it could swap a few yarns of life on the lam with Percy the pelican if it ever made its way to Kanto.

Not a bad Red-faced Cormorant impersonation.


The biggest surprise on my previous visit (Oct 8) had been a party of four Whiskered Terns, birds that I'm sure had made it here under their own steam.

That same day while checking through a flock of White Wagtails I came across this first autumn. First autumns invariably have a yellowish cast to the face but I thought this bird was yellower than many. Not just about the face either, the grey of the crown, nape and to a lesser extent mantle were yellowish- or even greenish-tinted.

White Wagtail with a yellower face and crown than many first winters.

The nape and mantle had a yellowish or greenish cast, though the mantle colour doesn't show too well here. 

Sticking to the yellowish / greenish theme; the Red-necked Stint in the title really took me by surprise. I can't find any reference to Red-necked Stint or any other 'black-legged' stint or peep having yellowish or greenish legs. Brownish or greyish yes, and there were more than a couple that fell into that category. However two birds within a flock of about 25 I was able to view at close range had noticeable 'colour'. The first I found had just a slight greenish tint to the tarsus which unfortunately was a bit too distant to get reasonable images of, however the second was yellower and the colour extended from the tibia to the feet. The following four images suffer from heavy cropping but apart from slight sharpening they are otherwise unaltered and I think they still show the legs have a yellow rather than brown element. 

A regular Red-necked, in the same place and light, showing the expected black legs. 

Then there was the other stuff, less surprising but nevertheless great to see...


Black-winged Stilts

Grey-tailed Tattlers

Grey Plovers

Green Sandpiper

Common Greenshanks


Terek Sandpiper

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