Saturday 30 September 2017

Aggressive stints

A couple of weeks ago at high tide I noticed a party of Red-necked Stints feeding around a small pond just above the beach. One bird was behaving in a very aggressive manor, running at all the other birds with its tail held vertically, bill downward and wings slightly opened while calling loudly. This in itself wasn't so odd but after a few minutes most of the other stints began to adopt the same behaviour until there was very little feeding taking place at all. This wasn't the first time I've noticed this aggressive behaviour and it seems to be a response to insufficient 'personal space' at or around high tide. What I don't remember having seen before is the same behaviour when space is restricted on a muddy field or other similarly cramped inland area.

The following few shots were taken last weekend just as the tide began to drop and the first few exposed square metres attracted the stints. Nothing else arrived until the water dropped further, the stints always seem more impatient to get on with things!

A juvenile Red-necked getting ready to take on all comers.

This adult scores more highly for technical ability and artistic interpretation.

The posturing never has the slightest effect (why bother?) and is followed by the charge.

Later in the day with the mudflats exposed all was sweetness and light... almost.

They would never have co-existed like this earlier in the day. Just having the space available seems to do the trick as they roved this way and that. No need to get excited, the big bird facing away is a Dunlin.

The Little Stint (right) stuck like glue to that small penalty spot-sized puddle. When a Peregrine flushed everything off, it came back to its private pool. The Red-necked Stints, now amicably moving across the mud, little realise they are about to transgress.  

Any Red-necked that crossed the invisible line would cause the tail-up threat posture.

The Little was kept pretty busy.

I never saw the same posturing from the lone Temminck's Stint, it would only voice a warning.

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