A Beach Patrol Identification Challenge

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: 90
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 2:29 pm

A Beach Patrol Identification Challenge

Postby Ian McLean » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:58 pm

Kia ora

Yesterday, I did a personal beach patrol of Bethells Beach & O'Neill Bay on Auckland's west coast. Beautiful beaches, including some small islands used by breeding Grey Faced Petrels, Flesh Footed Shearwaters & Sooty Shearwaters. I only found the remains of one bird, but it was badly decomposed (as per the attached 3 pictures) & it was a bit of a challenge to identify it.

I consider that the bird is most likely a Mottled Petrel, but I would appreciate some comments.

Some points are as follows:-
(1) In general, the bird was like a Cook’s Petrel, but bigger with the Mottled Petrel being the largest of the “Cookilaria” type petrels.
(2) Although the black coating of the bill had fallen away, the bill matched the Mottled Petrel bill profile outline on my bill profile card.
(3) The wing length was 26 cm.
(4) The tail was long at 11 cm, was pale grey without any dark tip.

One of the more challenging & messy ones to identify, with the rubber gloves definitely required !

Cheers
Ian McLean
Mottled Petrel underwing view.jpg
Mottled Petrel underwing view.jpg (304.27 KiB) Viewed 357 times
Mottled Petrel dorsal.jpg
Mottled Petrel dorsal.jpg (312.6 KiB) Viewed 357 times
Mottled Petrel head.jpg
Mottled Petrel head.jpg (317.97 KiB) Viewed 357 times
Last edited by Ian McLean on Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
lloydesler
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:39 pm

Re: A Beach Patrol Identification Challenge

Postby lloydesler » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:53 pm

My guess Mottled petrel. A reminder to all that the Beach Patrol scheme is alive and well and all records of dead birds on the coast are useful. Send me a list with number of each species, location and date, plus a photo if you want an id. You can post pictures of unknown birds on inaturalist where they will be speedily identified. Please forward beach records to me Lloyd Esler esler@southnet.co.nz
Cheers
Ian McLean
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 2:29 pm

Re: A Beach Patrol Identification Challenge

Postby Ian McLean » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:08 pm

Thanks Lloyd
I will complete a Beach Patrol record form & will send this to you. We also have a Birds New Zealand, Field Trip to Bethells Beach on the 19th of July to practice beach patrolling & bird atlas skills & I will send you the details for that one as well.
Cheers
Ian
User avatar
David Riddell
Posts: 843
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:46 pm

Re: A Beach Patrol Identification Challenge

Postby David Riddell » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:46 am

Yes I agree this looks pretty good for mottled petrel. That dark belly rules out most things, and the underwing pattern is a good match. The tail does seem slightly on the long side but that may just be down to the state of the specimen.
User avatar
philbattley
Posts: 565
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 2:21 pm

Re: A Beach Patrol Identification Challenge

Postby philbattley » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:53 am

I found some wings a few years ago, and from memory the wing length helped confirm the ID as mottled.

Return to “General Birding Discussion”