Little Stint Calidris minuta, a very rare vagrant to Borneo. Mann included in his checklist of Birds of Borneo with one well documented record from Mumiang on 6th October 1984 by David Beadle. Mumiang is the only record historically accepted by most.
Mumiang is located at 50 49’ N 1180 19’ E, which is the estuary of the Kinabatangan River in East Coast of Sabah. Another record from Seria , Brunei in 1985 lacked substantiating documentation and was generally ignored.
Mann's checklist (2008) as well as the two Bornean Fieldguides by Phillipps (2014) and Myers (2016) were since published and there wasn't any new record on this little fella included.
Birders and photographers in Sabah have been trying hard to nail a positive record of this bird as everyone believes it must be under recorded, as it looks very similar to Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis in winter plumage, which occurs in large number in winter months here. So it must be somewhere out there mingling with the hundreds of Red-necked Stints foraging happily in the distant sand bars.
Waders expert Dave Bakewell, who has a number of well-written and well-illustrated blog postings on the identification of Little Stint has been approached numerous times to help identifying odd looking stints photographed in Sabah. These images represent a faint hope that one might show a Little Stint, but all this while they show unmistakable Red-neck Stints in various ages and moults to Dave's expert eyes.
In 2015 MNS- BCC Record Committee reviewed the status of Little Stint in Sabah and Sarawak when it was updating the Malaysian Checklist in view of the lack of records in the intervening years. In order to put the record official, the only record from Mumiang was put up for the consideration of the Record Committee, The Committee Chair managed to get in contact with the original observer, Mr. David Beadle, who amazingly still have his note book on the observation.
The Record Committee later accepted that record, and that remained the only record until 9th September 2016 when Mr Stanley T Shao photographed an odd looking Stint from Tawau, Sabah, which was later identified by Mr. Dave Bakewell to be Little Stint. The image is here.
Another bird was photographed in Tawau on 2nd January 2017, image here.
Another one in breeding plumage was photographed in Tawau on 16th July 2017, image here., the same bird was again photographed on 6th August 2017, image here.
No idea whether all the images are from the same bird that was first photographed in September 2016, though mid-July is early but not an unlikely date for waders arrival.
With this, our belief that Little Stint is definitely out there is confirmed.
30th and 31st May is Harvest Festival in Sabah, we have two days public holidays, this year it falls on Tuesday and Wednesday, by taking Monday off, we have an extra long weekend of bird photography.
We drove from Tawau at 6 am on 27th May (Saturday) to Kota Kinablu in late afternoon to photograph our first lifer, which is non other than a poor stranded Common Coot. We later had an eating and drinking session with our local bird photography sifus before moving on to Kinabalu Park, where we managed to get hold of our room keys at 11.30 pm from the security guard as the reception had closed for the day many hours ago.
These were photographed during the trip.
Common Coot Fulica atra is a vagarant of North eastern Borneo, so far only recorded from Western Sabah and Brunei. The last record was a lone bird in 1st February 2010 (Here).
Pictured here is a bird which is stranded in Likas, Kota Kinabalu this season. This poor coot has some form of feather disease where the barbs on its primaries and secondaries are mostly rotten, showing almost bare rachis when wings are stretched out. I would expect the poor cooty to be flightless for quite a while. Unlucky for the cooty, lucky for us, this is my #439 Bornean bird.
Chestnut-hooded Laughing-thrush Rhinocichla treacheri, one of the commonest birds in Kinabalu, making puppy-like sound while foraging for insects in first light.
Borneo Birdwing Troides andromache - male, a endemic of Bornean mountians, many of them seen foraging around.
Temminck's Sunbird Aethopyga temminckii-male, foraging amongst blooms with Olive-backed Sunbirds Nectarinia jugularis.
Temminck's Sunbird is essentially a montane species, occasionally it is recorded in lower altitude, Olive-backed Sunbird is essentially a lowland species but occasionally recorded in montane settings.
Juvenile Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni, another approachable flycatcher of Kinabalu Park.
Bornean Bald Laughing-thrush Melanocichla calva
Bornean Bald Laughing-thrush, the uncommon endemic laughing-thrush and one of the most sought after bird of montane forests in Borneo, lucky to meet this foraging party, this is my #440 Bornean birds.
Ashy Drongo Dicurus leucophaeus, a common roadside bird, often seen foraging from perches on high wires and tip of branch.
Mountain Treeshrew Tupaia montana
White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollisanother friendly bird of montane forests.
Plantain Squirrel Callosciurus notatus, commonest squirrel in lowland also occur in montane forests.
Jentink's Squirrel Sundasciurus jentinkiis a montane species.
Grey-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps, is a difficult bird to get a clear shot when it decides to keep foraging in thick bushes.
Pale-faced Bulbul Pycnonotus leucops, a quite approachable bird with some resemblance to the common lowland Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier as both have yellow vent.
Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus torquatus, this bird is soaring at altitude well above 1,500 m around the Park area. Managed to see a soaring Mountain Serpent Eagle Spilornis kinabaluensis as well, but unable to take a photogrpah.
White-browed Shortwing Brachypteryx montana- male
White-browed Shortwing - female.
This pair was seen crossing the trial and I waited for them to cross again with a pre-focused spot, too bad, as they must have noticed my presence and were dashing across at high speed, only managed to get record shots. This is my #441 Borneo birds.
Checker-throated Woodpecker Picus mentalis, an interesting bird that occurs both in lowland and montane forests.
Whitehead's Broadbill Calyptomena whiteheadi, lucky to encounter two birds perch just next to the trail.
There are other interesting birds recorded in Tawau Hills Park before, and I still in need of lots and lots luck to see them here. The list includes Bulwer's Pheasant (Lophura bulweri), Cinnamon-rumped Trogon (Harpactes orrophaeus), White-necked Babbler (Stachyris leucotis), Bornean Wren-babbler (Ptilolocichla leucogrammica).