NZ Dotterel, Ashley Estuary

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Neil Fitzgerald
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NZ Dotterel, Ashley Estuary

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:43 am

Here is a photo of the New Zealand dotterel at the Ashley Estuary on 28 Aug that Jan posted about earlier (viewtopic.php?p=29729#p29729).
Taken by a tourist from Perth that Bev got to take it at the time (now returned to Perth and sent it to Bev). Nice teamwork!

nzdotterel.jpg
nzdotterel.jpg (686.42 KiB) Viewed 1481 times
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David Riddell
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Re: NZ Dotterel, Ashley Estuary

Postby David Riddell » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:52 pm

To me this looks like a northern bird - any southerners care to comment?
Davidthomas
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Re: NZ Dotterel, Ashley Estuary

Postby Davidthomas » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:14 pm

Was speaking to John Dowding among others at the Christchurch BirdsNZ monthly meeting about this and he reckons it's a first or second year juvenile Southern. Based on two major factors:

1) No Northern Bird has ever been found in the South Island while atleast one Southern bird has been found in the North Island getting as far as Auckland before returning to Stewart Island.

2) because they don't breed for atleast one maybe two years the birds can do a tour of the country often heading up either coast reaching the top of the South Island before returning back down South at age 2-3

Furthermore having a look at the bird it looks a much darker brown than the North Island birds which are often lighter brown even greyish and the red on its breast appears to extend further down than would be expected in a Nothern bird to me anyway.
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Re: NZ Dotterel, Ashley Estuary

Postby Jan » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:04 pm

Yes, I'm with David. John Dowding said on Monday it was most likely a S Is. Dotterel. I did tell Neil all that but understandably he hasn't got time to post ramblings as well as the pic. which I ought to learn how to do myself! S Is. birds go all over the place apparently, whereas banded N Is. birds, of which there are masses, have never been observed even at Farewell Spit, unlike the S Is. ones
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David Riddell
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Re: NZ Dotterel, Ashley Estuary

Postby David Riddell » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:52 pm

Thanks for that, I did wonder if the photo was an accurate representation of the bird in real life - it looks paler and has less extensive red on the breast than the main photo of northern NZ dotterel on the NZ Birds Online page, but perhaps that's the camera's exposure settings. I take it the live bird looks redder and browner?
Davidthomas
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Re: NZ Dotterel, Ashley Estuary

Postby Davidthomas » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:15 pm

Sorry to have caused confusion with my closing comments, i was meaning them in relation to what i would have expected from a first or second year North Island bird which still wouldnt have come into full adult breeding plumage. But upon looking at the photos on nzbirdsonline i tend to agree with your above comments that it probably isnt as dark brown or as brick red (They apparently dont go properly brick red until atleast the second year sometimes third year birds).

However i still stick by the fact that i believe its a first or second year Southern Bird based on location (Previous birds have been southerns at this location) as well as the legs are somewhat yellowish/pale grey suggesting a younger bird.
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jdowding
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Re: NZ Dotterel, Ashley Estuary

Postby jdowding » Fri Oct 14, 2016 11:33 pm

This is the first time I've seen this photo, and I have to say it could be a northern bird. My comments quoted above were based entirely on previous sightings of banded birds - as David T and Jan have said, there have been large numbers banded in the NI, with none of them ever seen in the SI. However, NI birds are creeping down the east coast and now breeding at Riversdale, with sightings even further south than that. Obviously not that far from Cook Strait, and I have been wondering how long it will be before they make the leap. So history says more likely to be from Stewart Island because of location, but with birds breeding on the Wairarapa coast now, the rules are probably changing.

Judging depth of colour in a photo is always difficult and as David R notes, exposure can make a big difference. However the sand in the photo is not obviously over-exposed, so neither the brown on the upper wings nor the orange on the breast are as dark as I would expect from a southern bird, even a one- or two-year-old. And young southern birds, even when they haven't developed full colour, tend to have blotchy orange underparts (the bird in the photo is more evenly orange) and have more (and darker) brown flecks along the flanks.

If the exposure's reasonably accurate, I think this one has probably come from the NI...
John Dowding

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