*MEGA* Wilson's Phalarope Ahuriri Napier

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ian smith
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*MEGA* Wilson's Phalarope Ahuriri Napier

Postby ian smith » Tue Nov 22, 2016 3:30 pm

While looking for a Marsh Sandpiper recently seen at Westshore lagoon (scrapes) around midday today, came across a bird on a patch of floating weed. Managed one poor shot with a 18X bridge camera before the bird flew. Shortly after that it reappeared and landed ON THE WATER where it sat/swam bobbing. Flew again and could not be relocated. Long thin bill, dark eye patch and darker feathering towards back of folded wing. Any opinions on ID?
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P1060633_crop.jpg (40.31 KiB) Viewed 2224 times
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Michael
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Re: Possible Phalarope Ahuriri Napier?

Postby Michael » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:46 pm

ian smith wrote:While looking for a Marsh Sandpiper recently seen at Westshore lagoon (scrapes) around midday today, came across a bird on a patch of floating weed. Managed one poor shot with a 18X bridge camera before the bird flew. Shortly after that it reappeared and landed ON THE WATER where it sat/swam bobbing. Flew again and could not be relocated. Long thin bill, dark eye patch and darker feathering towards back of folded wing. Any opinions on ID?


Yeah! Looks good. Certainly not the long, yellow legs of a Marsh Sandpiper, and has all the right plumage. I presume from leg colour and head plumage this would be a Red-Necked?
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RussCannings
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Re: Possible Phalarope Ahuriri Napier?

Postby RussCannings » Tue Nov 22, 2016 5:54 pm

Phalaropes can be tricky when judging from single-angle photos, and even in the field without birds to directly compare. Ian, if you have any extra notes on plumage and/or relative size to other birds, that could be very helpful.

I think Red/Grey Phalarope can be eliminated by the bill alone, but another realistic possibility is male Wilson's Phalarope (Males have shorter bills). The bill length and shape seems to suit Wilson's better to me plus it's quite a leggy-looking phalarope. RN and Red/Grey Phalaropes are quite squat-looking birds when walking around and this bird has a more stilt/tringa like stance (albeit hunched and sleeping). Plumage-wise, this bird appears quite smoothly-patterned on the mantle, whereas Red-necks tend to be quite noticeably streaked and marked (Though this is a tricky angle--perhaps Ian could add to this?). Furthermore, the flanks are very pale and unmarked which seems to fit Wilson's better again. The black mark around the eye and dark legs could be retained from summer plumage.

Hopefully it sticks around for some more scrutiny!

Russ C
Cambridge, NZ
Wayne & Marg Twydle
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Re: Possible Phalarope Ahuriri Napier?

Postby Wayne & Marg Twydle » Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:33 pm

Adam Clarke has additional photos of this bird which may clarify the situation. He says he will post them tomorrow.

Wayne
Tim Barnard
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Re: Possible Phalarope Ahuriri Napier?

Postby Tim Barnard » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:03 pm

Any chance we could have something tonight?
ian smith
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Location: Havelock North, Hawke's Bay

Re: Possible Phalarope Ahuriri Napier?

Postby ian smith » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:18 pm

Thanks for the comments Russ. I can't add much other than to note that the photo is an extreme crop and doesn't represent the bill well - in the scope it appeared long, needle-like and perhaps very slightly decurved. Have to confess I didn't really consider phalarope as a possible ID until it reappeared and plopped into the water (too far away to photograph), and then when checking illustrations also thought that Wilson's seemed the best fit. Hopefully Adam's photos will shed more light.
Wayne & Marg Twydle
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Re: Possible Phalarope Ahuriri Napier?

Postby Wayne & Marg Twydle » Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:47 pm

Still present at 7pm tonight (in the scrapes). Can confirm a white rump and yellowish legs - very short tibia - complete leg not seen. It spent some time swimming and surface pecking. Hope Adam's photos tomorrow will clarify what has been seen today.

Wayne and Margaret
Ian Southey
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Re: Possible Phalarope Ahuriri Napier?

Postby Ian Southey » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:36 pm

Really looks like a Marsh Sandpiper with legs hidden and neck tucked down.

Ian
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RussCannings
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Re: Possible Phalarope Ahuriri Napier?

Postby RussCannings » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:33 am

The similarities are certainly striking but given the plumage differences I think we can all agree this is a different individual from the Marsh Sandpiper originally present? Furthermore, has anyone ever seen a Tringa sp. swim around and surface feed like a phalarope? I know avocets and dowitchers will swim from time to time but not while foraging.

Regardless of what it turns out to be, it's a great reminder of how similar phalaropes, marsh sands, and juv stilts can appear upon a brief glance. If it does end up being a Wilson's Phalarope, and if the Marsh Sand remains elusive, it will be yet another great coincidence in birding lore that could have potentially gone unnoticed if not for careful observation!

Russ C
Cambridge, NZ
Tim Barnard
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Re: Possible Phalarope Ahuriri Napier?

Postby Tim Barnard » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:48 am

Thanks everyone for the extra info - much appreciated. Yep Russ I have seen Marsh Sands swimming, the last bird we had at Little Waihi would swim from time to time but only for short periods.

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