JUVENILES V ADULTS
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.