7am, Sunny, with rising light gradually bring out more of birds plumage features.
This is mainly notes gained from a conversation I had with RGM.
Semi P candidate that had been Ided two days ago intially picked up coming out of roost on Pats Pool then affording better views on Simmonds
Upperparts – generally pale grey and clearly in moult with remaining juvenile feathers apparent in patches, photos suggest there were more rufous tones on the lower scaps but photos suggest these are restricted to higher scaps!
Scapulars – so fieldguides (two of which we had in the hide and proved almost immediately useless!) talk about concave and convex scaps to separate Semi P from Western but what does this mean? If the centre of the scapular represent the shape of an anchor then the ‘hooks’ of the anchor are either indented (on Semi P) or curved (on Western). I’d go deeper and say Western is not completely concave with a slight undulation while Semi P is concave to the extent of uneveness and irregularity within the sets of scapulars. Steve Gantletts photos seem to show a convex undulation. Bird was too distant to note these features in the field.
Body shape – Richard pointed out that it was very ‘egg shaped’ and didn’t have the compactness of Semi P. Rule of thumb in the States is that Western resembles a small Dunlin while Semi P a small compact Little Stint. Definitely got more of a Dunlin impression.
Supercilium. Seemed more Semi P like with a distinct notch or kink behind the eye.
Crown. Did not appear dark capped and although darker in the field than in photos crown seemed quite faded out.
Ear coverts – not overly prominent, possibly faded out in the same way the crown was.
Appeared quite long legged, with substantial ‘leg’ above the knee, did not give it a hunched squatting impression.
And finally the bill – Reference to online photos suggests that the length exceeds in the longest billed Semi P, typical Semi Ps usually having shorter bills than Little Stints. Richard noted a slight blob near the tip, I couldn’t see this. The overall impression given by the head and bill gave it quite a ‘horsey’ look similar to online photos of Western, Semi Ps look cuter.
The other bird – A lot of features suggested Semi ! No primary projection, very blunt ended, but apparently no palmations noted, but these are very difficult to pick out in the field.