ID Challenge #3 - closes 14 October 2009

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Neil Fitzgerald
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ID Challenge #3 - closes 14 October 2009

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:47 pm

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Answers for this challenge are due by replying to this topic by midnight (NZDT) on Wednesday 14 October 2009.
Click here for the rules.

There is a great prize up for grabs; a place on a scheduled Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ pelagic trip from Sandspit, Whitianga, or Stewart Island.
Remember, your answers will not be visible to anyone else until after the closing date.
Don't be afraid to have a go even if you're not very confident. It's a great way to learn.
Good luck.
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Re: ID Challenge #3 - closes 14 October 2009

Postby ledzep » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:45 pm

I am tossing up between Huttons and Fluttering Shearwater, I have lots of difficulty telling them apart. I think the yellowy colour on the bill is due to the light. Bill is too long for a Little Shearwater. Can't see the underwing. I am going to go with Huttons Shearwater based on:
- Appear a little darker round the neck than Fluttering
- Slightly larger and dumpier than Fluttering
- Looks sea looks like its from near Kaikoura!
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Peter Frost
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Re: ID Challenge #3 - closes 14 October 2009

Postby Peter Frost » Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:20 pm

Hutton's Shearwater: dark head and collar; pale belly and vent, but with what looks like brown smudges alongside the vent; long thin bill; flattish head.

Peter Frost
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David Riddell
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Re: ID Challenge #3 - closes 14 October 2009

Postby David Riddell » Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:56 am

Very tough. I'm going to go with Cory's Shearwater, on the strength of the yellowish bill with the dark tip. Looks too pale under the tail to be a grey petrel. Also looks a bit too dark on the breast for Cory's, but looking at some photos some seem to look like this, and I can't think of anything else. If it is Cory's, I presume this photo wasn't taken in NZ?
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Re: ID Challenge #3 - closes 14 October 2009

Postby Swissbirder2000 » Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:45 am

I will give a try,but it is not easy for an alpine birder. A seabird with a long slender bill: a Shearwater. Dark above and white underparts. The dark on the head far below the eye, in most position one can't even see the white gular and a broad collar.Small whitish-grey patch behind the wings. Fluttering or Hutton's Shearwater. The quite dark upperparts make me go for Hutton's Shearwater (Puffinus huttoni).
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Shane McPherson
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Re: ID Challenge #3 - closes 14 October 2009

Postby Shane McPherson » Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:33 pm

Golly this is a tricky one!
Getting to huttons/fluttering shearwater is easy. Long slender bill eliminates petrels, especially kermadec and grey petrel, and also little, cory's, and pink footed shearwaters. Brown and white rules out all dark shearwaters, while no 'm' markings on upper surface of wings rules out gadfly petrels and bullers shearwater. short square ended tail eliminates pied phase wedgetailed shearwater, and bullers again.

Give me a close up shot of the underwing and axillaries! Not even any indication of underwing from any of the birds in the background. I have enough trouble with the hut/flut shearwater beachwrecks in the hand! hmm. Well its one of them.

The angle of the observer and lighting makes it a suspect call...
1) the collar is broader and more extensive, smudging in the 'sub moustachial' area and extending down reasonably far merging onto the breast. but damn that shadow is not helping. the brown partial coller here looks like it reaches the midline but the bird is tilted towards the observer slightly
2) the bill looks skinny and long, slightly more so than fluttering?
3) the graduation from white to brown on the flank. Field guide(s) suggest the white/brown edge is more clear cut in fluttering sw

other features not used
a) both huttons and fluttering shearwaters form large feeding flocks
b) the lower bill appears pinkish, is this something to do with the early morning/late afternoon light?
c) is the apparent lightness in the eye ring another possible cue... im plucking at straws now.

ok, ok, I'll stop complaining :D

Puffinus huttoni

p.s. how about a forest bird next month.
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Wynston Cooper
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Re: ID Challenge #3 - closes 14 October 2009

Postby Wynston Cooper » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:11 pm

I would like to have been able to enlarge the photo for a closer look, but will (fingers crossed) go with Hutton's Shearwater given the apparently flattish head, long slim bill, and broadish collar. The lack of feet projecting beyond the tail worry me though.
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Graham Saunders
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Re: ID Challenge #3 - closes 14 October 2009

Postby Graham Saunders » Fri Oct 09, 2009 8:07 pm

Fluttering Shearwater
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Re: ID Challenge #3 - closes 14 October 2009

Postby keith » Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:44 am

storm petrel
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Re: ID Challenge #3 - closes 14 October 2009

Postby Jan » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:32 pm

Dear judge,

I have it in good authority that the photo is so awful, one can't tell what the spp
is. The bill is enhanced by the setting sun, so that makes it fluttering shearwater
[paler bill] but the bill is long and the armpit shading is extensive, but is this a shadow?
That would make it Huttons shearwater.
Pity you don't put where the pic was taken, Neil.

I am going to go with 'fluttoni', that's either flutt or hutt. Don't suppose that's allowed
but it's my best shot and I've picked up hundreds of dead ones of both/either/or one of them.

I guess Brent is trying to narrow down the 6 finalists and hoping half the 6 get it wrong.
Heaven help us with the next mystery bird.

It has fined up at last down here.

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