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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 07:52   #351
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Originally Posted by me1000
Hello all,
thank you I.P. for your most imformative reply on hybrids,but they can and still occur or is Darwin wrong (ref post 262) .
It is of course a hybrid curlew/sandpiper x blue tit from N.A.S.A sent too undermine England as we know it
me
It is not an absolute situation and ruddy duck issue has clouded things a little in over-emphasising hybridisation. Hybrids seem to occur more in wildfowl and one of the reasons put forward is that captive-bred birds (even of UK species) are getting out and essentially not knowing what they are. [This is not an idea put forward by the RSPB but forgive me for not knowing the source, I would tentatively say WWT but that is probably wrong so if anyone can point me to the literature then I would be grateful.] Just to complicate the issue, wildfowl may be a special case and merely show that speciation is at a relatively low level, especially if we consider that morphology is not always a reliable guide (look at the domestic dog for instance). Anyway, the point seems to be that given natural situations includingextinction (whatever the reason) hybridisation is the exception rather than the rule. there is probably no reason why blue tits and coal tits do not hybrididse but they rarely do although hybrids between azure and blue are know (this does not seem to be cumulative so it is possible hybrids are not fertile, as it shoudl be with Linnaen definitions). Thanks for the opportunity to chat and please forgive me if I am preaching to the converted.
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 08:12   #352
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Originally Posted by Ashley beolens
Marek, just to argue agains the points you made (I'm in a fighting mood now) Leg colour is greyish, BWP (my only real reference I;m afriad) states bare parts colour as Grey-Blue to slate grey, so thats fine, bill colour - horn-brown, nearly black at tip; base of lower mandible fleshy-pink or pale horn with faint flesh-red tinge - So thats OK too, as for the colouration, its very subject to the photograph and any later manipulation, I could make those photos green, believe what you saw when there not what you are seeing now. If you then think its a EC cool!

I am really not fussed to get a "tick", barely chase anything these days, I just think too many people are saying its this or its that without backing themselves up, so far nothing has been said which fully rules out SBC, until it is I will follow my heart!
Sorry, the BB article does say that leg colour isn't proven to be significant. If you haven't read it get hold of a copy as it's much more useful than BWP. If you refer to the BB article it states that the bill structure is very important. The Minsmere bird does not have a slender bill. I can't see how anybody can argue that it does. In SBC the amount of flesh colour on the lower mandible is said to extend no more than 1/3 (or something like that) and the Minsmere bird has what appears to be a wholly flesh coloured lower mandible. In addition the bill is definitely dark brown as opposed to black. I think the bill colour/structure alone makes this a non starter.

I don't think it's a EC but I don't think it's a SBC. Don't know what it is! Hybrid theory sounds good. In fact, it's a probable Eskimo x Slender-billed Curlew hybrid ;0)
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 08:25   #353
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Originally Posted by Jane Turner
An interesting debate that needs to be had is what does this episode imply for the Northumberland bird.. which while it looked a load better then this one... there must be now be significant doubt... Clearly it is possible for EC / Steppe Whimbrel or some hybrid to show features thought to be associated with SBC.
Hi Jane,

I am still drawn to this discussion despite promising myself I had little else to add because my only chance to see the bird will be the coming w/e. However, I think your words here have some interesting implications and it is one area where I agree with CJW. It seems to me that if the Minsmere bird fails the test then the Druridge birds must be re-evaluated. I think this is making some people cautious in the wrong direction possibly with the worry of losing a tick. My personal feeling is towards an aberrant bird rather than a hybrid and I would stick my neck out and even cautiously suggest whimbrel rather than EC. To be honest, I think we are all obsessed with being wrong and that is not important and I am looking forward to being proved wrong and discussing the actual ID.

Ian
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 08:59   #354
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basically not enough is known about 'curlews' and their variation in central asia eg sushkini, mixed pairings etc and until work is done here I guess we may not be able to put a satisfactory name to the bird.......although this was apparent from the Druridge bird too!
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 09:51   #355
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It's a Slender-billed Curlew. I've not read one single decent argument as to why it isn't, but plenty as to why it is!

Now seen it twice and I was present on Monday when about 60 people were all very vocal about why this bird on The Levels was most definitely not SBC. And oh how I was shouted down for telling them that this bird was not the same as the one I saw the other day. One tw@t had a go at me so I went off instead to see the Baird's. I'd loved to have seen the look on their faces when the real bird was suddenly found in the stubble fields!

It's all good fun, eh?
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 09:52   #356
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Curlews.......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Peters
Hi Jane,

I am still drawn to this discussion despite promising myself I had little else to add because my only chance to see the bird will be the coming w/e. However, I think your words here have some interesting implications and it is one area where I agree with CJW. It seems to me that if the Minsmere bird fails the test then the Druridge birds must be re-evaluated. I think this is making some people cautious in the wrong direction possibly with the worry of losing a tick. My personal feeling is towards an aberrant bird rather than a hybrid and I would stick my neck out and even cautiously suggest whimbrel rather than EC. To be honest, I think we are all obsessed with being wrong and that is not important and I am looking forward to being proved wrong and discussing the actual ID.

Ian
I am very surprised by the frequent comparisons between the Minsmere Curlew sp. and the Druridge Bay bird, why should the identification of this latest bird lead to a re-evaluation of the Druridge SBC? Having now seen the Minsmere bird I can see few similarities between the birds in terms of structure or 'jizz' although the plumage does show some similarities there are some striking differences amply shown by photos of the two birds.

After more than 8 hours total viewing of the bird I was confident, and still am, of the identification of that bird as Slender-billed Curlew albiet based on present knowledge........of interest would be interested to know from people who doubt the ID of this bird (and there seem to be quite a few on this group) as to which features they consider don't match SBC?

As for the Minsmere bird........having had excellent views and studied the various photos of the bird I am left completely confused and undecided.......I would have to say that if I found this bird and attempted to identify it using currently accepted criteria I would certainly not be able to confidently identify it as either species.
It seems to me from reading all the literature and Didiers comments that all the features of the bird could match Slender-billed Curlew......
My main concerns on viewing the bird were the size (said to be Ok by Didier...) and particularly the bill shape and colour which seems at odds with all literature & most photos but see photos on link below of Imm SBC
http://www.birdnet-cms.de/cms/frontc...ang=1&client=1
The bill shape & colouration appear to match the Minsmere bird very closely.
Other feature eg Underwing & upperwing looked perfect for SBC and match Druridge bird although could probably be shown by EC as well?
The flank markings look fine for SBC again see above link for variation.
Almost all other plumage features are variable and OK for either species eg leg colour, eyerings( for imms at least).
2 features which I would be interested to hear comments on are;
1) Background pattern to lower breast / upperflanks, showing brown barring behind the spots/markings, would this be typical for a Imm SBC, it is not show in the link above in which the bird shows a white background with no markings (as did the Druridge bird - although this was in a more advance plumage)
2) Didier mentions that the secondary / tertial pattern is good for SBC, a feature no one else seems to have picked up on, anyone know anything about this feature?
In conclusion if Didier can provide evidence that features of this bird eg Size are OK for SBC then it is possible that all plumage features may match SBC, personally I would take a lot of convincing however that these features couldn't also be shown by a EC (especially as the structure and Jizz are to my eye identical to EC), it is certainly the case that our current knowledge is inadequate, Didier clearly has a greater knowledge of the species than anyone else, hopefully this bird will encourage him to make some of it available to the rest of us.
It may well be that the overlap between the two species is so great that birds like this may never be safely identifiable - unless you can analyse some shit of course!

Finally really wish people wouldn't always use the hybrid / abberant tag to disguise our lack of knowledge........as for the bird being a Whimbrel????????? Would love to hear the reasoning behind that theory........

All the best,
Rob

PS Tim - Looking forward to the beer & pies, trust there will be some nice big portions for the Derby Boyz B
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 10:27   #357
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Watcha Rob

good to see the Derbys mafia taking over BF. You can have James' beer and pies.

there was a post from LGRE re tertials and implications thereof earlier on. Reading the stuff about Ushakov's expeditions has been quite enlightening. It appears that breeding has never been certainly documented between TWO SBCs anywhere in the light of doubts over Ushakov's work. There does seem to be a bit of a vacuum in knowledge of these species/races/forms/whatevers

Tommo - don't get wound up mate ...although i would have liked to have seen your 'altercation' with the masses! 'ave it!
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 10:46   #358
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The most valuable thing I'm learning from this is that I'll do anything for a tick! Especially as I can't afford to go to Barra!

I'm still convinced with this as SBC, but thoroughly prepared to be called "Great Tit of the Year" if that crap turns out to be Eurasian DNA!!!
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 11:58   #359
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Originally Posted by tom mckinney
It's a Slender-billed Curlew. I've not read one single decent argument as to why it isn't, but plenty as to why it is!
I'd be very interested to hear Didier Vangeluwe's arguments for SBC since it's against his own criteria and Jimmy Steele's (they wrote the BB article) that the Minsmere bird doesn't appear to stack up.

1) Why is the bill so thick and without the fine tip characteristic of SBC?
2) Why is the bill so extensively pinkish-brown (as mentioned above by Marek)?
3) Why is the mantle no darker than Eurasian Curlew?
4) Why is there such a clear eye-ring?
5) Why are the tertials and tail more closely barred than the Druridge bird?
6) Why is the breast streaking so indistinct?
7) Why is there such a dark ground colour to the breast?

This is more or less the same as the list I posted before, though one or two points have now been addressed. I would be delighted to see evidence countering the rest, but for the moment I don't consider this bird is securely identifiable as a Slender-billed Curlew.
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 11:59   #360
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Hutchinson

Finally really wish people wouldn't always use the hybrid / abberant tag to disguise our lack of knowledge........as for the bird being a Whimbrel????????? Would love to hear the reasoning behind that theory........

All the best,
Rob
My mind is open on the true ID and to be honest, I have no definitive reason for accepting or rejecting hybrids other than I don't think it is likely. However, I don't think the case against an aberrant form is proven but I really don't care if I am wrong about this idea. With respect Rob, I have yet to see a detailed reason why an aberrant form is a non-starter including with colleagues here at The Lodge who are a lot more experienced than I am. In fact, if we go a stage further and point out that someone has offered every single possibility then inevitably some people will be right and others, wrong. What I disagree with is the statements that seem to read as "it is because I say it is". I am sure not everyone falls into this camp but equally, some clearly do. Like I said earlier, I am looking forward to seeing what the bird actually is even if it totally contradicts any of my ideas.

Cheers

Ian

P.S. I may see some of you over the w/e so as ever, stop and say "Hi!".
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 12:16   #361
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Originally Posted by Ian Peters
With respect Rob, I have yet to see a detailed reason why an aberrant form is a non-starter including with colleagues here at The Lodge who are a lot more experienced than I am.
The BB article addresses the possibility of the Druridge bird being an aberrant Curlew and basically says that aberrant birds are aberrant in one feature (i.e. leucistic plumage or a short bill). It argues that the chances of one bird showing several aberrant features (in the case of the Druridge bird and the Minsmere one - small, short-billed and pale) is very, very unlikely. I can believe this which is why I believe the Minsmere bird is more likely to be an obscure race of Eurasian Curlew that we know little about.
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 12:30   #362
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Minsmere Curlew sp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluetail
I'd be very interested to hear Didier Vangeluwe's arguments for SBC since it's against his own criteria and Jimmy Steele's (they wrote the BB article) that the Minsmere bird doesn't appear to stack up.

1) Why is the bill so thick and without the fine tip characteristic of SBC?
2) Why is the bill so extensively pinkish-brown (as mentioned above by Marek)?
3) Why is the mantle no darker than Eurasian Curlew?
4) Why is there such a clear eye-ring?
5) Why are the tertials and tail more closely barred than the Druridge bird?
6) Why is the breast streaking so indistinct?
7) Why is there such a dark ground colour to the breast?

This is more or less the same as the list I posted before, though one or two points have now been addressed. I would be delighted to see evidence countering the rest, but for the moment I don't consider this bird is securely identifiable as a Slender-billed Curlew.
I would definitely echo the thoughs re. Bill Shape (Particularly the broad base) & colouration, I thought these where the main negative points on the bird, how do you think they compare to the photos on the link I post earlier however, look very similar to me.
I can't comment on the other features and suspect most (perhaps not the tertial & tail barring?) are very variable in both species and of little help in identification.
Still troubled by the background colouration of the flanks however, even photos of young SBC appear to show a clean white base colour?

Rob
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 12:33   #363
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I have just read this thread from the beginning, looked at all the photos, checked BWP and exhaustively compared these with the BB paper on the Druridge Bay bird - you will understand this when I explain that I have a flight booked from Hong Kong on Sunday night!

It is obviously not an eastern Eurasian Curlew - take it from me these are monsters compared with your European birds. I don't buy Whimbrel - I was part of a group which ringed 18 (all juveniles) this week and juvenile Whimbrels have the same head pattern as adults (alright - I don't have any experience of alboaxillaris but the literature makes no reference to differences in head pattern from European birds). The odds on this being the first ever documented Numenius hybrid seem tiny (a risk I'm prepared to take and to be so pale-rumped it would have to have an SBR as one parent). The worry is an aberrant Eurasian Curlew: which would have to be unusually small, unusually short-billed and have plumage features none of which rule out SBR and several (head pattern, dark mantle, lack of transverse barring on flank markings, axillary colour, underwing colour) which at least point to SBR.

But...I do worry that, based on the photos, the bill is not tapering enough and the tip not fine enough. (I'm not worried about bill colour or the width of the bill base, cf the BB paper and the other literature).

So, those who have seen it - please help me out as I think that this is difficult to decide from photos - how fine is the bill tip? Especially, is there any suggestion of a bulbous tip?

If not - I'm on the 'plane on Sunday night (if it is seen on Sunday!).

Thanks and best regards.

Mike
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 12:48   #364
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marek_walford
The BB article addresses the possibility of the Druridge bird being an aberrant Curlew and basically says that aberrant birds are aberrant in one feature (i.e. leucistic plumage or a short bill). It argues that the chances of one bird showing several aberrant features (in the case of the Druridge bird and the Minsmere one - small, short-billed and pale) is very, very unlikely. I can believe this which is why I believe the Minsmere bird is more likely to be an obscure race of Eurasian Curlew that we know little about.
This is probably true but are the features of the Minsmere bird really abberant for a Eurasian Curlew, the bird did not appear much smaller than the accompanying Curlew when I saw it, it may be at the lower end of the size range for EC (ie this may be in the range where measurements overlap with SBC) but I would doubt it is outside the known range for EC ie not aberrant.
Same goes for the bill, would imagine this is within overlap between the 2 species again don't think being the case don't think it could be descibed as aberrant - indeed might we not expect a small bodied individual to have a smaller bill? Watching the bird in direct comparison with EC I could not note any differences in structure / colouration, the birds bill simply looked like a scaled down version of the EC bill.
I don't have enough experience of Curlew colour variation to say whether a pale bird like this is unusual.
Although it is perhaps wrong to say that these features are 'aberrant' it may be true that it is statistically less likely for a species to show several features at the limit of the known variation for that species - but it is possible!

Rob
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 12:50   #365
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Good luck to you Mike, you will be a Mega tick yourself for the Bf 200 club !
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 12:53   #366
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1) Why is the bill so thick and without the fine tip characteristic of SBC?

Subjective, but I would say it most certainly is NOT thick and has a very fine tip.

2) Why is the bill so extensively pinkish-brown (as mentioned above by Marek)?

I spoke to Jimmy Steele and this is not a problem and features in many of Vangeluwe's skin photos.

3) Why is the mantle no darker than Eurasian Curlew?

Why should it be?

4) Why is there such a clear eye-ring?

Because that's what Slender-billed have. Check out John Harriman's pics from Morrocco and the 1968 French bird.

5) Why are the tertials and tail more closely barred than the Druridge bird?

No photos show the Druridge birds' tail well enough to make such comparison, but I don't see any difference in the tertials.

6) Why is the breast streaking so indistinct?

Individual variation?

7) Why is there such a dark ground colour to the breast?

I would say it has a very pale breast. Just asked 2 other people who also agree!

My only doubt about this bird has always been that it certainly does look big. But even this is apparently okay.

Whatever happened to Michael Frankis, by the way? He'd be incredibly useful at the moment.
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 13:01   #367
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But...I do worry that, based on the photos, the bill is not tapering enough and the tip not fine enough. (I'm not worried about bill colour or the width of the bill base, cf the BB paper and the other literature).

So, those who have seen it - please help me out as I think that this is difficult to decide from photos - how fine is the bill tip? Especially, is there any suggestion of a bulbous tip?

If not - I'm on the 'plane on Sunday night (if it is seen on Sunday!).

Thanks and best regards.

Mike

The two main points that worried me when I saw it and still do (I don't think it's a SBC) is that it had the same jizz as the two Eurasian Curlews and the bill is not slender. I didn't note a bulbous tip but it's well known that this is diffcult to see in the field (and not even that easy on specimens). The bill didn't appear fine at the tip and I've yet to see any photos showing this. This has to be a major problem to identifying the bird as a SBC and I can't see how anybody can explain the lack of a crucial id feature.
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 13:01   #368
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Originally Posted by marek_walford
The BB article addresses the possibility of the Druridge bird being an aberrant Curlew and basically says that aberrant birds are aberrant in one feature (i.e. leucistic plumage or a short bill). It argues that the chances of one bird showing several aberrant features (in the case of the Druridge bird and the Minsmere one - small, short-billed and pale) is very, very unlikely. I can believe this which is why I believe the Minsmere bird is more likely to be an obscure race of Eurasian Curlew that we know little about.
Hi Marek,

I can see why CJW thinks we are going round in circles. I was more referring to the Minsmere bird but I made the connection with Druridge bird because some people have pointed out similarities. I don't know how I can say this any clearer, I am not yet convinced in any direction and that seems to be the general consensus of opinion here. I think the best way to think of this is that some people are leaning in a particular direction without having case proved at this time. There are so many varied ideas on this thread that it is impossible to answer everything for any of us. I think the bottomline at this stage is that we do not have a definitive ID for the Minsmere bird and I am perfectly prepared to accept the birds is distinct from the Druridge bird but also that it brings about a fresh look at the latter (if this is what is required). To be honest, I want it to proved as an SBC because this could infer that a population exists somewhere although even this would not be proven. Curlews are not short lifespan bird and this individual could be a remnant with no prospects of breeding.

Ian
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 13:06   #369
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Hi Marek,

I want it to proved as an SBC because this could infer that a population exists somewhere although even this would not be proven. Curlews are not short lifespan bird and this individual could be a remnant with no prospects of breeding.

Ian
If it were to be proved that is is an SBC (and I am firmly in the doubter camp) that would be a real shame if your final sentence was proved to be correct.
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 13:09   #370
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I was leaning towards SBC until a few days ago when I sat down with the BB article and examined the Minsmere bird in exactly the same way as the article examined the Druridge bird. Each section gives the degree to which that feature is important in id'ing the bird. In doing so I found that (according to my own notes) there were several inconsitencies between the Minsmere bird and what the BB article cites as very important features. I came to the conclusion that the bird cannot be a SBC.

What I find very surprising is the inconsitencies between observations. i.e. to my mind there is no way the bill was in any way fine or slender yet others swear blind it was! I still wonder whether I saw the same bird as others are describing (in the stubble field on 2/10).
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 13:15   #371
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marek_walford
The two main points that worried me when I saw it and still do (I don't think it's a SBC) is that it had the same jizz as the two Eurasian Curlews and the bill is not slender. I didn't note a bulbous tip but it's well known that this is diffcult to see in the field (and not even that easy on specimens). The bill didn't appear fine at the tip and I've yet to see any photos showing this. This has to be a major problem to identifying the bird as a SBC and I can't see how anybody can explain the lack of a crucial id feature.
These were definitely the negatives for me when watching the bird, intersting to compare photos from the 2 links below however ref. Bill Shape;
http://www.birdnet-cms.de/cms/front_...ang=1&client=1
http://www.magikbirds.com/image.asp?title_id=1008
Comparing the bills of the 2 birds directly I can see little if any difference in structure.
Also interesting similarities in breast streaking and note variation in flank markings although the Hungary birds due show clear white base colouration lacking the brown tranverse barring of the Minsmere bird.

Rob
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 13:22   #372
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Hi Marek,

Totally agree with your comment about wildly different descriptions. I overheard one guy say that he thought the "rear neck was really dark" whilst his mate told him "no chance its really silvery."

I pity whoever has to assess it, cuz there is going to be some crazy ass descriptions!!!
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 13:51   #373
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As an innocent bystander but highly interested in this ongoing thread I'd like to maybe state (reiterate) an obvious question on the bill - thin tipped or not.

There seems to be now some better pictures coming out e.g. Roy Harveys on Surfbirds which are sharp and show the bird against a pale background.

I know that pictures don't always reflect the true field image BUT surely these shots must give pretty accurate reflection of whether it has a thin tipped bill or not!!!
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 14:18   #374
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen
As an innocent bystander but highly interested in this ongoing thread I'd like to maybe state (reiterate) an obvious question on the bill - thin tipped or not.

There seems to be now some better pictures coming out e.g. Roy Harveys on Surfbirds which are sharp and show the bird against a pale background.

I know that pictures don't always reflect the true field image BUT surely these shots must give pretty accurate reflection of whether it has a thin tipped bill or not!!!
Funnily enough, I think there is some dirt at the tip of the lower mandible in the Roy Harvey pics!
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 15:15   #375
Ashley beolens
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Tom, I was there Monday and the people hwo were claiming the birdon the levels, were saying, whilst watching the second (thin billed) bird tha they thought this mornings bird was better!! some people will believe what they want to believe.

I agree whole heartedly that the bill looks quite thick in the photos, but I swaer on my life!! (strong words) that when I SAW the bird it looked quite thin, I was shocked by how thin to be honest, I cannot comment as to why others don't agree or why the photos don't show this but I don't care really!! More to the point does it not seem as thick as the German Birdnet picture??

Can anyone tell me if they have seen a EC with such a sloping forhead? aren't they usually very rounded??
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