Mystery Bird #2 - The Answer

Monthly challenge to test and improve your bird identification skills.
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Location: Hamilton, New Zealand

Re: Mystery Bird #2 - The Answer

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:05 pm

Peter, thanks for suggesting those names.
Erik replies:
Hello Neil,
With the caveat that I am not familiar with NZ waders, this is a Greater Sandplover. The shape and size of the bill, the large eye, the stance distinguish from Lesser (Mongolian).

All the best,
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Peter Frost
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Re: Mystery Bird #2 - The Answer

Postby Peter Frost » Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:22 am

I concede :oops: (shades of my argument with Brent over the Chatham Is Cook's Petrel last December ;) ). Phil's second picture is much more convincing.

In recovery mode: at least it stimulated some discussion. Perhaps we'll get an upsurge in sightings this summer as more people go out and look more carefully at dotterels (of all species).

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Re: Mystery Bird #2 - The Answer

Postby sav » Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:34 pm

I have had some input from across the Tasman, where the 2 sandplovers are much more widespread. From Jeff Davies who is working on the plovers for a new field guide, Danny Rogers who should be well known as a shorebird id expert and Mike Carter who is Australia's biggest lister.

The apparently shorter legs of the original mystery bird are explained by stance and perhaps "fluffing-up" of the plumage, but the Aussies think that the length of the legs is not as important as the size and structure of the bill.

Jeff also noted that the forhead is not steep enough for a Mongolian, and that the contrasting scapulars and wing coverts are another good feature for Greater Sand Plover.

So we get to learn more!! And - to keep Peter happy - Mike said he would have got it wrong as well!!!
Sav Saville
Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ
Great Birds, Real Birders

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