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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 20:28   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marklhawkes
Yes a second bird was seen, see BB 95: 279-299 for details, but it was identified as a Eurasian Curlew

My filing sytem of BB's as in randomly distributed through every room in the house precludes me finding that in a hurry... was wondering if it was positively identified as Eurasian Curlew or was sinmply not proveable as female SBC.. like these things are really as common as muck :-)
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 20:34   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane Turner
My filing sytem of BB's as in randomly distributed through every room in the house precludes me finding that in a hurry... was wondering if it was positively identified as Eurasian Curlew or was sinmply not proveable as female SBC.. like these things are really as common as muck :-)
per BB - 'a smallish, but not atypical, Eurasian Curlew, presumably a male' pg. 280
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 20:37   #103
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Ta... wonder if..

a.. this latest bird is positively identifiable.. and ....

b. if it is.. whether that Northumberland record might be looked at again!
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 20:43   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane Turner
Ta... wonder if..

a.. this latest bird is positively identifiable.. and ....

b. if it is.. whether that Northumberland record might be looked at again!
a: lets hope so! Although, people will always doubt records, regardless of the 'accepted opinion' - usually those who didn't see it! In the field experience of this bird is paramount to understanding just how 'different' it looks.

b: why look at the Northumbs record again - in all honesty, out of these two birds, that individual is the better of the two.
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 20:49   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marklhawkes

Maybe the rarity status of this species is partly due to the fact
that people don't know what to look for with this species. If this
bird is a SBC (a theory i am beginning to lean towards), then other
immatures may have been missed before, simply because the perception
of what a SBC looks like is clouded by the more obvious adult male
photos from Morroco.
I agree, that is exactly the situation I found myself in when I was watching it last Wednesday.
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 21:54   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotspur
Yay or nay? Cos thats a long journey for a runt curlew
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJW
A bit of an odd comment that Hotspur. Who is to say where the bird came from if it is a runt Curlew.
I guess the comment was more referring to the fact that it would be a long journey for the birder to make only to find out it's a runt curlew - rather than a comment about the birds origins.
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 22:09   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJW
If it is proved to be a Slender-bill, then it's also a disaster for the species.
I hope it isn't one.
Chris, much as I like and respect you, that's rubbish! If it is a 1w SBC then it's brilliant news! Tells us there's still a breeding population worth looking for and conserving. The alternative is Eskimo Curlew, where people have given up on it because of a lack of confirmed sightings. If a species can't withstand the loss of an individual, the species is already lost. And Britain isn't wildly off course for SBC - there's an (admittedly old) history of migration through West/Central Europe, so an SBC in England might not even be lost.
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 22:15   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Docmartin
Chris, much as I like and respect you, that's rubbish! If it is a 1w SBC then it's brilliant news! Tells us there's still a breeding population worth looking for and conserving. The alternative is Eskimo Curlew, where people have given up on it because of a lack of confirmed sightings. If a species can't withstand the loss of an individual, the species is already lost. And Britain isn't wildly off course for SBC - there's an (admittedly old) history of migration through West/Central Europe, so an SBC in England might not even be lost.
Just an opinion. There's two sides to every argument.
I can't get my head round the thinking that the loss of potential breeding stock of a critically endangered species is less harmful than us not knowing whether they are breeding in some far flung, un-surveyed corner. Just because we don't know it doesn't make it so. If you get my drift.
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 00:22   #109
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Sorry Chris, wasnt a personal attack, was just saying that your opinion was the only one that had been distinctly expressed and that its a long way to drive for a bird that i have no real time to see and that if i do decide to go i need to know that it is being taken seriously as a possible SBC rather than being loosely bounded about that way. I believe that it is fantastic that if 2 of these birds have reached Britain in recent years and neverpreviously on record then there must be a bgger pop. out there than is currently realised (i hope!) plus at the end of the day if an individual is going to get lost and die or not reproduce and this have major implications for the species then it wont survive because in all populations this will occur. Or maybe there is a previously unknown breeding area apart from the Rusian taiga, or simply that we are looking in the wrong places for this bird because it had a relic population in Eastern europe? Just asking a question, not expressing an opinion, not clued up enough
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 01:49   #110
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Watcha

my mate just back from watching it for 3 hrs is also distinctly underwhelmed.

after night in the pub the best the Norfolk boys could come up with was......what chance a hybrid SBC by Curlew? As SBC became very very rare, is it posssible the few remaining birds paired up with Eurasians and we are seeing the result? Hence the difficulty in differentiating this bird from Eurasian...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotspur
its a long way to drive for a bird that i have no real time to see and that if i do decide to go i need to know that it is being taken seriously as a possible SBC rather than being loosely bounded about that way.
Why not take some notes and make your mind up yourself James?

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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 02:03   #111
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[quote=marklhawkes
Also, the term 'runt' or runty'! where did this come from? Somebody point me in the direction of a reference to 'runt' curlews! I think people need to just have a perception of how variable numenius sp. can be. Do 'runt' birds really exist? How many 'runt' birds have people come across in their normal day to day birding? In 16 years of birding. I've seen no 'runt' birds.[/QUOTE]

saw a runt Dunlin just last weekend - very small, with a very small bill. Runts aren't that unusual.
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 07:57   #112
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I've seen a Barwit that was barely bigger than a Reshank.. that really put the wind up me!
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 08:06   #113
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There is a pic of this bird on Surfbirds now with its wings spread.. is it me or do the auxilliaries look darker than the underwing coverts.... isn't that game over?
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 09:02   #114
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SBC should have all white under wing coverts (picture on BWPI looks very similar to Minsmere bird), the bird looks good as an SBC to me, I'll be going first oppotuity I get now.
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 10:17   #115
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Okay plain and simple. Has anyone on this forum EVER seen Eurasian Curlew with a bill like this bird? Not similar or sort of like it, but a bill just like this bird.

Fact: outside of normal sex/geographical variation, the BBRC uncovered just 2 records of abberant Eurasian Curlew when assessing the Druridge bird. So that makes abberant Eurasian Curlew about as common as Slender-billed.

So again: has anyone ever seen Eurasian Curlew with a bill just like the Minsmere bird?

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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 11:14   #116
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[quote=Tim Allwood]
Quote:
Originally Posted by marklhawkes
Also, the term 'runt' or runty'! where did this come from? Somebody point me in the direction of a reference to 'runt' curlews! I think people need to just have a perception of how variable numenius sp. can be. Do 'runt' birds really exist? How many 'runt' birds have people come across in their normal day to day birding? In 16 years of birding. I've seen no 'runt' birds.[/QUOTE

saw a runt Dunlin just last weekend - very small, with a very small bill. Runts aren't that unusual.
Was it not just an alpina or artica race Dunlin? The variation in the size and measurements for Dunlin is also very extensive. 'Runt' birds are very unusal - and further more, if the Minsmere bird is a 'runt' Curlew (which i doubt), then why does it also show plumage features akin with SBC? is it both 'runt' and aberant? What are the odds? A hybrid, although possible, would surely be rarer than a genuine SBC (ie. NEVER recorded ANYWHERE EVER before).

A theory put forward by Bret Richards (i think) after the Duridge bird, was that as a species becomes rarer and more isolated, the vagrancy potential increases, as these lone individuals 'tag-on' to their nearest kind. The minsmere bird isn't out of proportion for a 1st-winter female SBC (in theory, it fits very well into the known parameters), the problem is, they are both very rare, and hardly anybody in the world has any experience of them. Although the guy with the most experience of them, does feel it is a SBC. If you go and see this bird and are under-whelmed, then maybe it's because its a hard bird to identify, and not that it isn't one!
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 11:34   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane Turner
There is a pic of this bird on Surfbirds now with its wings spread.. is it me or do the auxilliaries look darker than the underwing coverts.... isn't that game over?
Thats a poor photo - probably taken with the sun behind the bird to a degree, casting a shadow on the underwing. The auxillaries and under-wing coverts should be clean on a SBC. I dont think that photo is useful at all. However, the other photos by Mark Lawson show nicely the bill shape and head pattern
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 12:50   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marklhawkes
!
Maybe the rarity status of this species is partly due to the fact
that people don't know what to look for with this species. If this
bird is a SBC (a theory i am beginning to lean towards), then other
immatures may have been missed before, simply because the perception
of what a SBC looks like is clouded by the more obvious adult male
photos from Morroco.
Agree with this. If other juv slender-billeds are as difficult to id/pick out as this one they would go un-found in almost all flocks of curlews. I was there with some very well regarded young birders (not including me in this cattergory) and we all decided if we had this bird we would have passed on it as a smaller curlew. It is clear that most peoples ideas of slender-billeds are of obvious adult winters like moroccon photos and this bird is very much unlike them.

"I could name many features pro-SBC - namingly; Size, bill length and shape, tail pattern, underpart colouration and pattern (or shape) of spots/ovals on left flank, dark crown appearance, dark loral area, slightly more obvious supercilium, overall pale ness, very white underwing!! "

If you could see all this you've got immense optics and had far better views than anyone I have spoken to . If it had all these features i'm sure it would be slender-billed. When we were there (thursday in fairly poor light) no one could see any plumage or posture features that were sufficient to really conclude we were watching an extinct bird.
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 13:09   #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ground-roller
"If you could see all this you've got immense optics and had far better views than anyone I have spoken to . If it had all these features i'm sure it would be slender-billed. When we were there (thursday in fairly poor light) no one could see any plumage or posture features that were sufficient to really conclude we were watching an extinct bird.
Leica 77APO 20-60x zoom. Most people i have spoken to could see all the features i noted, some even more than me. The bill showed a dark-pink base to the lower mandible, the loral area was dark looking, and this combined with the darker crown, gave the supercilium a more pronounced effect. The tail appeared whiter than a Eurasian Curlew, due to a whiter base colour to the feathers than EC, and wider white bars between the greyish-brown tail bars. The left flanks had a number of dark spots/oval, maybe upto 10, although these turned more into streaks further up the breast (as would be correct for a 1st-winter), the right flank had maybe only 1 spot, with the rest being streaks. The underparts were cleaner white. The birds overall colouration was slightly paler looking than a EC, and the structural differences were strikingly obvious. No jizz differences noted, although maybe it fed in a more active manner.

Strangley, if this bird was photographed in Kazakhstan or Siberia would people doubt the identification? I think not. Is it really just the identification in question here? No. Obviously its a very rare bird (although possibly not extinct), however, Great Knot and Red-necked Stint reach our shores, and several of the later SBC records have been from NW Europe. If it's a Curlew, can somebody simply tell me why?
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 15:01   #120
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well

just got back

didn't do much for me - i tok sketches and notes (didn't see anyone else doing this mind!) Saw several folks whose opinion i would listen to all saying Eurasian.....

bill structure, posture and behaviour not at all convincing. we couldn't notice the features as ground roller states above either. Underwing was very pale though.

As i mentioned above, it is possible that it has some SBC genes in it. I don't know, but could these sushkini curlews be the product of the last few SBCs pairing with Eurasian? The last Spix's Macaw paired up with a Blue-faced Macaw and wouldn't have anything to do with a released female Spix's
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 17:36   #121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ground-roller
"I could name many features pro-SBC - namingly; Size, bill length and shape, tail pattern, underpart colouration and pattern (or shape) of spots/ovals on left flank, dark crown appearance, dark loral area, slightly more obvious supercilium, overall pale ness, very white underwing!! "

If you could see all this you've got immense optics and had far better views than anyone I have spoken to . If it had all these features i'm sure it would be slender-billed. When we were there (thursday in fairly poor light) no one could see any plumage or posture features that were sufficient to really conclude we were watching an extinct bird.
I've just got back and can say I could see most of these features. It was significantly smaller and the bill much shorter than the the Eurasian Curlews it was with, couldn't see the tail pattern and not convinced about the spots on the flanks but noted (yes, I took some notes too ;O) a dark crown, faint supercilium, overall paleness (remarkably like Barwit) and pale underwing. I need to do some serious reading before I make my mind up but I would highly recommend going to see it. If nothing else it's been educational!
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 17:43   #122
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I'd like to see it as an educational thing.. can't be r'sed with the crowds though.. perversely I'd be more likely to dgo if it was put out as def Eurasian :)
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 17:48   #123
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[quote=Tim Allwood]well
just got back
[/QUOTE}

How busy what - and what percentage of people were happy they were watching slender-billed?

Big crowds I guess - only five people at one stage on thursday
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 18:11   #124
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loads of people
no-one saying much - most comments were of the 'er....it does have a short bill and it is small.

It might be SBC, but the structure of the thing looked all wrong, today at least. I know a few folks who've seen SBC and they all reckon the posture and manner is wrong plus the bill structure/shape is not right. And behaviour too.....no fast running as SBC do/did. No neck stretching/standing very upright. Might be due to different conditions though? Looked big for SBC (I think the Druridge bird was at the big end too?) When I look at my sketch it says Curlew.

The cap/lores were not unusual to my eyes for a Curlew - see BB 95 (6) PLate 171, 172, 173, and 174 show almost the opposite in fact with SBC being pale-lored cf the curlew in 171. Crown didn't look particularly flat either.....and plate 188 shows a Eurasian with white axillaries.

small amount of pink on lower mandible too

Best thing in its favour for me is that it did appear to lack any flank chevrons/transverse bars....interesting.

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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 18:17   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
"bill structure, posture and behaviour not at all convincing. we couldn't notice the features as ground roller states above either. Underwing was very pale though"

"As i mentioned above, it is possible that it has some SBC genes in it. I don't know, but could these sushkini curlews be the product of the last few SBCs pairing with Eurasian? The last Spix's Macaw paired up with a Blue-faced Macaw and wouldn't have anything to do with a released female Spix's
"

How could you not see those feature, most of them are even visible in the (poor) photos on surfbirds and birdguides!

From my understanding sushkini are also inseperable from orientalis, and have measurement between arquata and orientalis (thus, if anything, being bigger than an average British Curlew!). Also, if you did a little reading, you would find that sushkini is NOT a small curlew (cf. BB95: 297-298).

I know several very methodical british birders (some whom specialise in 'difficult groups' who now consider the bird to most likely be a SBC. Furthermore, i notice nobody in the Eurasian 'camp' actually explaining WHY it is a Eurasian!!
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