Shorebird Quiz!

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
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RussCannings
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Re: Shorebird Quiz!

Postby RussCannings » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:20 pm

Great stuff people,

Firstly to the grayish bird in the lower right with prominent white brow-- this bird is marginally smaller than the numerous Great Knots around it and has a distinctly shorter bill (apparent even at this awkward angle). The leg colour appears greenish. It is thus a bit too bulky for Curlew Sand, along with its bill proportions and coloured legs--Curlew Sand has black legs), leaving only the knots, sand-plovers, and perhaps tattlers. The bill appears too short for tattler (and is slightly curved), and the legs are much duller than you'd expect for most tattlers. The bill and overall gerth also eliminates sand-plovers, leaving us with the two knots. I have previously noted the size differences with the other Greats, and since the grey mantle is more washed out (less distinctly marked), this appears to be a Red Knot--likely a juvenile based on the leg colour. We are used to seeing more flank marking but I think it's just a plainer bird than average with the resolution of the photo cutting down further on the visible markings.

Secondly the tricky plover in front of the Pacific Golden. Compared to the very grey knots and godwits nearby, this bird is clearly a warm sandy-brown, with blonde brow and facial pattern. While some juv sand-plovers can have similar tones, few if any would be this golden overall with no traces of pale edging to the mantle feathers. The smooth sandy-browness is then a give away for Oriental--which is indeed more numerous on inland plains, however it's fairly normal for a handful to feed on the mudflats and roost on beaches like this in Broome (consider the Ohiwa bird's prefered foraging grounds). I believe there were close to 20 Oriental Plovers in the entire flock at this location. Now... can Caspian Plover be eliminated from this photo? Probably not... but... rule of averages.

Lastly, isn't that a Dowitcher!? I wish, when I saw that bird from a distance I thought I had a lifer in the bag, but as I got closer, I noted the pinkish bill-base, dropping bill tip, and smooth ashy wash to the flanks and mantle. An Asian Dowitcher in basic plumage should be more grey-and-white like the Barwits, perhaps with even more distinct pale facial/brow markings, whitish flanks (with knot-like chevrons) and a straight all black bill. Another tip I have heard is that most Asian Dowies hold their bills at a 45 degree angle (pointed down) when roosting, almost as if the bill is too heavy to keep up. Godwits do this ocassionally as well of course but something to consider.... so that means this bird has to be a small (probable male) BLACK-TAILED GODWIT. ***For those inexperienced with picking out Black-tailed Godwits from Bar-tails, take a look at this photo now that you know the bird circled in green is a Blackwit. Try and find the other 5 Blackwits hidden in the flock. Look for that clean sooty patterning as opposed to the paler streaky Bar-wits.

Okay awesome--I hope we all learned a bit. Happy to be corrected on any of these points, or for other species to pop out. Later tonight I'll post another photo with a different mix to see what else was out there that day!!! (It was 42 degrees and 90% humidity by the way... still totally worth it!)

Russ C
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RussCannings
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Re: Shorebird Quiz!

Postby RussCannings » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:02 pm

Okay here's a new one. The photo is a little fuzzier (It was hot!), but still a good image to study. Now the way this round will work is for participants to guess how many additional species are in this photo (i.e. Species that were not in the first one). We'll start with #s again then we'll work out the actual species. I promise I'll post a better res photo with a completely different mix to cap the quiz off!
ShorebirdQuiz2.jpg
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Jim Kirker
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Re: Shorebird Quiz!

Postby Jim Kirker » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:13 pm

The four standing on the far side of the rock look different to me.
Davidthomas
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Re: Shorebird Quiz!

Postby Davidthomas » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:12 pm

I make three or four, maybe 5 new species.
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RussCannings
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Re: Shorebird Quiz!

Postby RussCannings » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:09 am

Thanks to everyone who has guessed, and sent private messages in. I think I'll just skip to the answers on this one. To my knowledge--there are only 3 extra species in this photo. As all observed, 2 of them are on the rock (4 Grey-tailed Tattlers & 1 Whimbrel sleeping). Finally, there are at least 2 Grey Plover heads visible in the back row, with one in the top right being the most obvious.

Well done all! Will post the final image later today--this time with a selection of smaller waders so no need to swift through a bunch of godwits and knots!

Russ C
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RussCannings
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Re: Shorebird Quiz!

Postby RussCannings » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:04 pm

Okay last one. Was tricky to decide what photo to include but I think this one captures a nice variety of of wader species in various postures. As before, let's start by guessing how many species we see (Then later we'll get down to the names). This photo is taken about 1 km down the road from the first two. Not bad roadside birding! [**For a higher resolution photo, send a request to: russellcannings79 AT gmail.com]

ShorebirdQuiz3.jpg
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Russ C
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CMKMStephens
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Re: Shorebird Quiz!

Postby CMKMStephens » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:51 pm

Are the vertical lines through the picture your copyright protection, or is this actually a magic-eye, and something will pop out if I stare at it long enough? :D
Davidthomas
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Re: Shorebird Quiz!

Postby Davidthomas » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:04 pm

I make what I think is 8 species in that shot
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RussCannings
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Re: Shorebird Quiz!

Postby RussCannings » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:36 pm

Hi CMKM,

No obvious bars on my screen. Just a heat-hazy photograph. I can email you a slightly higher res version if you want. Since a lot of shorebiridng involved squinting at things in the distance I suppose it's good practice.

Russ
andrewcrossland
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Re: Shorebird Quiz!

Postby andrewcrossland » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:19 am

1. Bar-tailed godwit
2..Greater Sandpiper
3. Lesser sandpiper
4. Red-necked stint
5. Terek sandpiper
6. Grey-tailed Tattler
7. Turnstone
8. Oriental Plover

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