Beach Wrecked Short-tailed shearwaters

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.
Ian McLean
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 2:29 pm

Beach Wrecked Short-tailed shearwaters

Postby Ian McLean » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:32 pm

Hi there
The Auckland branch of Birds New Zealand has our regular Muriwai Beach Patrol last Saturday the 2nd of November. Of the 31 birds found, of interest was the finding of 10 Short-tailed shearwaters.

A summary of the birds found is as follows:-

• 3 Gannets
• 1 Black backed gull
• Short-tailed shearwater 10
• Sooty shearwater 3
• Buller’s shearwater 1
• Hutton’s shearwater 1
• White fronted terns 2
• Fairy prions 4
• White-headed petrel 1
• Grey faced petrel 1
• White Chinned Petrel 1 (We had initially thought that this was a Westland Petrel)
• Mollymawk 1 sp wings only, measurement could have been one of several
• Mollymawk 1 sp well deteriorated, head only brought in, bill well bleached, likely a juvenile Buller’s Albatross
• European starling 1

The large number of Short-tailed shearwaters is perhaps related to the high mortality of the species that recently occurred in Alaska ? Whilst it has also been reported that on Philip Island near Melbourne almost no birds have returned to breed & that this may be due to the birds being under conditioned.

Although what we thought was a Westland Petrel had no white feathers under it's chin at all, we are fairly sure that it is a White Chinned Petrel. The wing measurement fitted very well with a White Chinned Petrel & it had a pale tip to the bill, whilst Westland Petrels have typically longer wings & also have a dark tip to the bill. I have attached a few pictures of the White Chinned Petrel. Note that at this carcass was an old one & any white feathers on the chin may have fallen out.

It would be interesting to know if others have also found large numbers of beach wrecked Short-tailed shearwaters ?

Ian McLean
White Chinned Petrel #3.jpg
White-chinned petrel wing measurement
White Chinned Petrel #3.jpg (413.07 KiB) Viewed 327 times
White Chinned Petrel #2.jpg
The White-chinned petrel without any white feathers
White Chinned Petrel #2.jpg (519.22 KiB) Viewed 327 times
White Chinned Petrel #1.jpg
The head & bill of the White-chinned petrel
White Chinned Petrel #1.jpg (478.3 KiB) Viewed 327 times
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David Riddell
Posts: 838
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:46 pm

Re: Beach Wrecked Short-tailed shearwaters

Postby David Riddell » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:20 am

Don't know about short-tailed shearwaters, but there was another white-chinned petrel reported on iNaturalistNZ on a West Auckland beach on October 23rd - see Probably brought up by all the cold southerlies at the time.

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