JU­VE­NILES V ADULTS

Bird Watching (UK) - - July Id Challenge -

In the bad old days, field­guides used to have illustrations of adult breed­ing waders and adult win­ter waders. Ju­ve­niles were ig­nored. How­ever, in late sum­mer and au­tumn, ju­ve­nile birds (ie those which hatched dur­ing the sum­mer) of­ten com­fort­ably out­weigh the adults. So it is fool­ish to ig­nore them, not to men­tion in­cred­i­bly con­fus­ing, as these birds of­ten sport very dis­tinc­tive plumages quite un­like those old-time illustrations. As a gen­eral rule, late sum­mer adult birds will ei­ther still be in breed­ing plumage or tran­si­tional to the paler, greyer win­ter plumage (and hence rather messy look­ing). Ju­ve­niles, in their new feath­ers, usu­ally look pris­tine, of­ten with very neat pale fringes on the man­tle (back) and wing feath­ers. They also of­ten have quite warm buff and ru­fous tones and gen­er­ally look neat and ‘per­fect. Some, such as Lit­tle Stint, Dun­lin and Pec­toral Sand­piper also sport natty pale lines in Vs on their back. If you can tell ju­ve­niles from adults, this will help your wader ID enor­mously.

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