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Old Wednesday 18th October 2017, 23:58   #26
MacNara
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Originally Posted by arodris View Post
Thank you very much for all your helpful comments. I think that distinguising between these two species is highly difficult. According to MacNara information, then my last two pictures, taken in Odaiba island, Tokyo, in august, would be great cormorants. I have magnified the area containing the cormorants that can be distinguised, and now I see a big yellow area, and probably correspond to great cormorants. Here you have the pictures.
Hi Antonio. Thank you for your reply. I would be happy for you if you had seen Temminck's Cormorant. I just don't think any of the photos you posted show it clearly enough for ID, even if it had been there. And it is supposed to be a winter bird there, if it is. Maybe this is your excuse for making a winter trip to Japan? There is an excellent trip report on this site of a February/March trip to Japan last year by Bird Forum member and professional bird artist Adam 'BirdBoyBowley' Bowley.

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I do know that Japanese Cormorant winters on the harbour walls at Choshi in its hundreds if not thousands - the place is famed for it!
Hi Steve: that's interesting to know. There are hotspots for certain birds, I know. To repeat, I'd be happy for Antonio if he had found this bird, and my main point was that his photos didn't show this clearly, and then that there were other reasons for doubting he would find them so easily or in that location in that season.

By chance, at the time I was looking at this thread, I was also reading a series of mails on Kantori about e-Bird lists of Japanese birds.

Kantori is a mailing list on Yahoo! in English used by foreign birders and some Japanese. It's not very active, and the main group of users seems to be quite small, and Tokyo-based. I'm not a member, so I can't contribute, but you can subscribe to the mailing list without being a member. However, it looks like they are moving to Facebook which I'm not on. If you are interested there is information here. Unfortunately, these people are not members of Bird Forum, or if they are, don't visit often. I was hoping one of them would comment here, because they are much more knowledgeable than me, but they didn't.

e-Bird is a US-based site where people can post lists of birds they saw on a particular day in a particular location, from around the world. One of the things the organisers hope to do is to create species lists for particular locations and particular seasons, including rarity of the species. It's a sort of crowd-sourced birding research site. In exchange for your data, you get an online bird list organiser for yourself. (I'm not a member or user.)

In the case of Japan, most lists posted are by birders visiting from abroad. Apparently there is quite a problem of misindentified birds, which makes the data much less useful as a research tool. (Of course, this is not a problem only for their Japan pages.)

So, if I sounded a bit severe, it was because I had this in mind. And also, as I said, I had just started collating my ten-year photos, and realised that in early days I had also misidentified these species.

Anyway, I hope the photos and comments I posted were helpful on balance, and I wish all of you the best for your birding life wherever you are in the world, and in Japan, if you have the chance to visit or visit again.
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Old Yesterday, 03:47   #27
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To repeat, I'd be happy for Antonio if he had found this bird, and my main point was that his photos didn't show this clearly, and then that there were other reasons for doubting he would find them so easily or in that location in that season.
There's now so much confusion running rampant through this thread that, even as a contributor to it, I myself am no longer sure what's going on! If any of this confusion has been introduced at any stage by me, I apologise unreservedly to all the other contributors for it (as well as to anyone else that has had the misfortune to read this thread).

First of all, Mac, I am in complete agreement with you that all of Antonio's birds are Great Cormorant! I gave reasons for this in #4 and #14. Although there are one or two more debateable individuals in his second batch of photos, I feel (like you) that the images are not clear enough to say for sure, and am 'on the fence' as regards their identity.

However, I am at odds with you over Alex's birds (different poster, different group of birds, different location, different date), which I feel contains a good number of Japanese Cormorants, as I have said (in a very politely 'hedged' and unexpectedly ire-provoking fashion) in #20. Although this photo too is a little unclear, there is more on show there to support the poster's initial identification as Japanese Cormorant than there is to negate it. I will add that the poster also has a much nicer photo on his 'Bird-dex' site of clear Japanese Cormorants (juveniles with all-yellow bills), presumably from the same location (as it is also captioned Kamakura).

The non-sequitur proposition 'Because it is rare where I live, it must therefore be rare everywhere else' can also be quickly disproved by referring to the sites you yourself provide. 'Kantori Mailing List' is a contributor to eBird, and has posted winter records for Choshi of up to 2000 Japanese Cormorants. There are also winter records of up to 250 at nearby (to Kamakura) Miura.

So, I guess this leaves us in disagreement over Alex's photo (but not over Antonio's), but hopefully in the mutually respectful position of 'agreeing to disagree'.

Steve

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Old Yesterday, 05:19   #28
MacNara
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So, I guess this leaves us in disagreement over Alex's photo (but not over Antonio's), but hopefully in the mutually respectful position of 'agreeing to disagree'.
Well, yes, we'll have to disagree on this. Looking at Alex's photo, the face on bird A, which he agrees is Great, and on bird B, which he thinks is Temminck's look the same to me apart from the angle of the birds' heads. Neither has the pointy bit which I take to be distinctive of Temminck's. I've blown the head part of this photo up and attached them. But, I can't say it absolutely isn't Temminck's because of the nature of the photo.

And I tried to post photos of various Great Cormorant heads, some of which (breeding) have rather little yellow. I'm glad if Alex has good shots of Temminck's elsewhere. I just don't think this photo shows them. So, we'll have to disagree, and I fully respect your comments and contribution to this thread, from which I have learned (e.g. by making me look at my old photos and realising I mid-ID'd stuff; and by making me look at various of my books more closely, and decide for myself what criteria I would use to ID these birds definitely).

You may be right and I may be wrong. But, I did try to give detailed reasons for my opinions and back these with extensive visual information, so that people can pick me up on mis-IDs or wrong reasoning, as you have tried to correct me about the rarity of Temminck's. I didn't just say, 'I'm right and you're wrong because I live here and you don't'. I would have been happy if someone who is more knowledgeable than me and more experienced had replied, but they didn't, so I tried to help.

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The non-sequitur proposition 'Because it is rare where I live, it must therefore be rare everywhere else' can also be quickly disproved by referring to the sites you yourself provide. 'Kantori Mailing List' is a contributor to eBird, and has posted winter records for Choshi of up to 2000 Japanese Cormorants. There are also winter records of up to 250 at nearby (to Kamakura) Miura.
I apologise again if I came across as gruff on this topic. But I think you are twisting my words a little bit. As I clearly said, it's not rare where I live, it's non-existent, because I live about as far from the sea as you can get in Japan (at least horizontally), and even further from wild sea. And I did agree that the east (Pacific) coast of Honshu may be different.

I am not denying the existence of 'hot-spots', such as the ones you mention in Choshi and Miura. What I was trying to say was that if you go to a random place on the Japanese coast, even if it's a bit rocky, and even in winter, and see cormorants, they are much more likely to be Great than to be Temminck's. After all, people point out hotspots for a species precisely because you can't just find them any old place.

But I have searched for Temminck's when I have visited the coast (near or far) in winter, and not found many. And when I reviewed old photos when preparing a reply to this thread, I realised I'd seen even fewer than I thought. We have Great Cormorants at my local pond - some seem to stay over the summer, and in winter there are hundreds. When on trips to the coast, near or far, I have searched for Temminck's and even in winter seen very few.

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Having never been there, I don't know Japan at all well...
Well, if you do decide to make a trip (preferably not in summer, over the New Year or at Golden Week), send me a PM, fly to Kansai airport, and I'll treat you to dinner in Nara (and a room if you like). We live right next to all the main sites in the World Heritage area.
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Old Yesterday, 07:18   #29
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Well, if you do decide to make a trip (preferably not in summer, over the New Year or at Golden Week), send me a PM, fly to Kansai airport, and I'll treat you to dinner in Nara (and a room if you like). We live right next to all the main sites in the World Heritage area.
Well played, sir! A well-intentioned conciliatory move that instantly diffuses any tension that's been building up here! Thank you very much for your kind offer, Mac. My only worry is that one day you might actually live to regret it (I only live down the road)!

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Old Yesterday, 07:27   #30
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Well played, sir! A well-intentioned conciliatory move that instantly diffuses any tension that's been building up here! Thank you very much for your kind offer, Mac. My only worry is that one day you might actually live to regret it (I only live down the road)!
On the contrary. It's because you are just down the road that I said this. It's a genuine offer. We enjoy having the occasional visitor. Judging from your comments, we'd probably get on. But even if not, hey... Cheap flights these days mean we're all closer than we used to be. But use the PM feature if you acually do this.
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