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From: "Wayne C. Weber" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 00:30:42 -0800
To: "OBOL" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [obol] NEWS FLASH:  "Stint Fever" hits Washington!

Northwest Birders,

It is good to know that stints actually occur in Washington! Only 18 months
ago, I believe, there were no confirmed records of any of the 4 species
of stints in Washington. Now we have a record of LITTLE STINT from
the Tri-cities area  (August 2004), a RED-NECKED STINT from the
Dungeness River mouth near Sequim (July/Aug 2005), and finally
a TEMMINCK'S STINT from Ocean Shores. Congratulations, Patrick
and Ruth, on discovering and documenting the Temminck's! I trust that
the Washington Bird Records Committee has accepted, or will accept,
all of these sightings, and admit these 3 species to the state list.

Although all 4 stint species are very rare in the Pacific Northwest,
and tricky to identify at best, the lack of verified stint sightings in
Washington prior to 2004 was a curious gap. British Columbia has
numerous records of RED-NECKED STINT, beginning in 1978, several
records of LITTLE STINT, and one well-documented record of TEMMINCK'S
STINT (well photographed-- September 1982). Oregon, according to
the Oregon Bird Records Committee website, has 7 accepted records
of RED-NECKED STINT (going back to 1982), 4 records of LITTLE
STINT, and 2 records of LONG-TOED STINT. (There are no accepted
records of LONG-TOED for BC or WA.)

About 1980, observers in the Vancouver, BC area began reporting stints--
especially RED-NECKED and LITTLE STINTS-- at surprisingly frequent
intervals. Nearly all of these early (1980s) sightings had field notes, but
very few were photographed. Many of these early sightings (especially
of birds in non-breeding plumage), upon review, could not and still
cannot be conclusively and unequivocally identified. It was alleged that
"stint fever" had struck BC. It did not stop several local observers
from trying their best to find and identify vagrant stints, using the
imperfect identification material available at the time.

25 years later, we have much better identification guides available
(thank you, Dennis Paulson and others), and far more birders today
have good photographic equipment. It is still a major challenge to
find, identify, and document stints, but it is great to see that
Washington birders have responded to the challenge.

It is apparent that RED-NECKED STINTS, at least, are probably of annual
occurrence, at least in BC, and possibly in WA and OR as well. LITTLE
STINTS as well may be of annual occurrence in the Pacific Northwest,
although there are many fewer documented records. TEMMINCK'S
and LONG-TOED STINTS appear to be much rarer than the other two.
However, even for RED-NECKED STINT, I think it is important that
every sighting be carefully documented until the status of stints
is much better known than it is now.

So it appears that "stint fever" has now struck Washington as well, although
perhaps in a different form than the initial outbreak in BC. Congratulations
should go, not just to Patrick and Ruth, but to everyone involved in the
discovery and documentation of the first Washington records of
RED-NECKED, LITTLE, and TEMMINCK'S STINTS. And the spirit of Brian
Kautesk, pioneer Vancouver-area "stint finder" who passed away in
1991, should feel vindicated. Yes, Virginia, there really are stints in
Washington!


Wayne C. Weber
Delta, BC
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