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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 13:09   #201
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy Frandsen
I will just said, that I'M not the photographer of the pix, that I put online.
Whey was sent out one EBN.
From EBN:
Pictures of the Minsmere curlew sp. can also be found on the following link



http://www.vzwlagare.be/vwgforum/top...2&whichpage=32


Pictures are taken by Frederik Willemyns.


Greatings,

Peter Collaerts
As an amateur in comparison to most of the contributors to this thread (and purely for selfish reasons in not having to go all the way back to Suffolk to re-make notes) could someone offer an opinion that the pics on this link are of the same bird as the Surfbird pics for 3/10/04.

Much obliged
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 13:18   #202
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluetail
With respect, Ian, this just isn't true. Read the BB article I cited in post 158 and my comments there. On the Druridge bird the first half of the bill was straight and the distal half downcurved. The basal (straight) half was tapered; the distal half parallel. This was considered entirely consistent with SBC. Above all, though, the bill looked straighter overall than Eurasian Curlew because the downcurvature was not so marked. This was also entirely consistent with SBC.
Possibly, I don't claim to be an expert on this but we clearly have what appears to be two different birds. I thought there was a possibility of a juvenile whimbrel (or hybrid) and I feel more confident in offering this for discussion now that it seems there might be two birds. In any case, the bird imaged last week did not appear to have a fine enough bill at the tip and this was dismissed as indicating a female. Personally, I am not altogether convinced by this idea but it makes more sense if there are two birds present. BTW, I am not arguing against an SBC because I really want it to be just that but it is interesting to discuss all the various possibilities even if I don't ( )get to see the bird.
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 13:31   #203
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Interesting article in Ibis 146:165 (abstract below) suggesting slender-billed curlews may ahve been regular winters in Holland in the early 20th century. Therefore Suffolk may be almost part of normal winter range?

" In modern ornithology, the use of oral traditions as sources for fact-finding about birds is rare. Nevertheless, when it comes to reconstructing the abundance, distribution and life-history of extinct or nearly extinct bird species, anecdote and 'oral' history may be an important source of information (e.g. Jukema & Piersma 2002). The Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris, which is now classified as of 'critical' conservation status (BirdLife International 2000) and as Europe's rarest bird species, is a case in point (e.g. Danilenko et al. 1996, Baccetti 2001). From unspecified breeding areas in central or south-west Siberia, Slender-billed Curlews migrate west- and south-westwards to coastal wintering areas in the Middle East and the Mediterranean (Gretton 1991, Piersma et al. 1996). In this contribution we summarize and interpret the spoken account of Pieter Mulder (1921-1999) as it was related to us in February 1999. Pieter Mulder's story suggests that Slender-billed Curlews (1) may have been regular winter visitors to the Zuiderzee area before closure with a dam (the 'Afsluitdijk') in 1932, and (2) may be unique among shorebirds in possessing patches of fat-producing powder feathers."
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 14:25   #204
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluetail
Read the BB article I cited in post 158 and my comments there.
Thanks for that, I have just finished having a look at the article and I may have uncovered something that I cannot confirm but may have helped with the confusion. I have a feeling that some images on the Internet have inadvertently reproduced the Druiridge bird by mistake and this has added to the problems. As far as I can ascertain there are not two birds present at Minsmere and there is are strong reasons for believing the bird is an SBC. Therefore, I withdraw my earlier comments because there may be a different reason for the discrepancies.

One bit of news I can give you is that it will not be possible to track the bird and the only justification for capture would be to obtain feather samples. Personal comment: it is unlikely the bird will now be captured because the DNA information could be obtained by the methods Bluetail has mentioned. There is a study underway on the skins and it should be possible to locate where this bird came from if we can get a faeces or feather sample.

Ian
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 14:31   #205
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I dont think there is really any doubts that only one bird has been present since the original postings of photos on surfbirds by Brian Small.

He has now watched the bird for 24 hours in total, and has visited during both the week and weekend. I think you'll find the effects of 'different birds' is a combination of varying optics/cameras/lights and angles the photos were taken at.

Too clear up another point, the bird has spotting (dark spots on white background), on both its left and right flanks, although they are more widespread on its left side.

Also, Brian Small has described the call - and it does fit a SBC.

Futher (very useful comments) can be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uk400club (although you will need to register to read them).
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 14:42   #206
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yes Mark

there's only been one bird.....if some folk have seen something else then i don't know what was going on.

the pic in the Frandsen series is a fantastic example of how birds can look very very different in photographs - a little bugbear of mine as many of you will know! This shows it very well indeed!!!
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 15:25   #207
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Have you seen the latest shot of 'it' on Birdguides? Just one question....which bird is it meant to be?
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 15:41   #208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJW
Have you seen the latest shot of 'it' on Birdguides? Just one question....which bird is it meant to be?
The bird on the right of the photo as you look at it.
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 15:51   #209
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marklhawkes
The bird on the right of the photo as you look at it.
Another helpful photo then.
Thanks Mark.
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 17:14   #210
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Peters
I have a feeling that some images on the Internet have inadvertently reproduced the Druiridge bird by mistake and this has added to the problems.
That would explain quite a bit!
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 17:34   #211
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Having just got back from the SBC I have to say (and please no one take offence) not everyone who sees this bird is actually seeing the bird in question. All morning RBA pagers were putting out that the bird was on the levels, of the birders I spoke to none had actually seen it except a couple of people who were looking at a young male EC, and I think this may be where the confusion is arising. a female type SBC would be near to the same size as a small male EC hense size comparisons being a bit useless in these instances.

When the bird was located (on the stubble field) it was very clearly different, the bill was straighter with a down curve occuring nearer the tip (which incedently I thought looked very thin), there was some spotting on the upper flanks of the left hand side of the bird (not as noticable on the right, possibly still moulting???). It fed in a much more "bums in the air" fashion, was a lighter colour than the accompanying EC, had paler undewings and in my oppinion looked quite good.

I will say this there were birders there who thought that the first bird of the day looked a better candidate (but it really ws an EC).

Don't trust the photos, see the bird before yourself then make up your mind.
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 18:23   #212
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Hi all.
more pix.
I don`t now who the photographer is, but take a look, there are alot of them.

http://users.pandora.be/peteradriaen...mere%20curlew/.

Tommy Frandsen
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 18:31   #213
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy Frandsen
Hi all.
more pix.
I don`t now who the photographer is, but take a look, there are alot of them.

http://users.pandora.be/peteradriaen...mere%20curlew/.

Tommy Frandsen
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Crikey! If you clever b*ggers can't i/d the bird from this lot, I don't think it will EVER be sorted out!
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 19:24   #214
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check the bills on http://users.pandora.be/peteradriaen...ew021004c2.jpg

and http://users.pandora.be/peteradriaen...ew021004a3.jpg

how weird is that?
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 19:39   #215
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
Hybridised with Snipe!?!?

Andy.
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 22:34   #216
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Two different birds! No doubt!
Well spotted Tim!
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 22:57   #217
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Hi David

it's surely the same bird - it's in the same sequence so i presume it is the bird that's in all the other shots and it looks like it in other respects - amazing how photos can distort reality....
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 23:02   #218
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I think this has surely shown how different photos from different angles under different light can show the same bird very diiferently )if that makes sense - just back from pub so perhaps not). Fairly sure all observers have been looking at the smae bird just have got different impressions due to fairly sterotypical ideas of what slender-billed curlews should look like
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Old Monday 4th October 2004, 23:57   #219
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To add to the debate

A number of videograbs taken Sunday morning between 0900 and 10.00

resized from 640 pix to 350 pix and sharpened only

no levels or colour added

Paul Hackett
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Old Tuesday 5th October 2004, 00:13   #220
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More pictures to add

Rgds

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Old Tuesday 5th October 2004, 14:54   #221
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The following comments have been made by LGRE on the uk400club yahoogroup.

Lancashire birder and artist Tony Disley has provided some more detailed
images of the Minsmere curlew and in my opinion they prove beyond doubt that the

bird is an ADULT. The tertials are seen to be heavily contrasting, strongly
barred and not notched as in a first-winter. Therefore I am convinced that the
bird is NOT a Slender-billed Curlew as adults of this species are highly
distinctive. Furthermore, Tony's image portraying the upper tail clearly reveals
the
presence of at least 7 bars (my field notes detected 8) and Slender-billed
from my observations only ever showed between 3 and 5 (exceptionally 6). Couple
this with the fact that the eye-ring is poorly defined, the underwing pattern
is incorrect, the brightness at the base of the bill, the paler leg colour, the
coalesced breast spotting and slightly arrow-shaped flank markings, pale
mantle and large size, then I believe that the bird is a non-starter for SBC.

So what is it I hear you ask? A runt Eurasian Curlew? A hybrid? Obviously, I
cannot answer this question as this individual bird is anomalous. I have made
extensive enquiries about this record and have been extremely pleased with the
results. Unfortunately the main man, Didier, has so far not responded to my
Emails but this may be possibly because of his workload.

One very interesting Email I received was from Russian ornithologist Valery
Moseykin. I had asked him about the authenticity of 27 recently claimed SBC's
in the Ukraine. His reply was such (translated into English).

''I participated in the Russian programme to search for the Slender-billed
Curlew and agree fully with the opinions of Professors Tomkovich, Morozov &
Koblik that it is necessary to ensure the correct identification of the species.

The main problems here are separation from N.arquata orientalis (Eastern
Curlew) and N.p.alboaxillaris (Steppe Whimbrel).

It is my opinion that SBC no longer exists as a species but just as a hybrid
- between the two steppe species I mention above. In 2001, in steppe
surrounding an oasis in the Kazakhstan desert we found a mixed colony of nesting

curlews (orientalis & alboaxillaris) and we found that some individuals were
actually INDISTINGUISHABLE in the field from what were previously described as
Slender-billed Curlews (and I must remind you that Russian ornithologist Zarudny

described a mixed nesting pair of Slender-billed Curlew and Eastern Curlew).
Russian collector Ushakov was unique in that he reportedly found the nests of
Slender-billed Curlew. He apparently took away eggs and shot adult birds.
However,
he later acknowledged the presence of orientalis in the area and examination
of much data, specimens and eggs from this era appear to indicate that
mistakes were made''

Valery's reply could very well provide the answer to our identification
problem. Maybe this Minsmere bird and the previous Hauxley, Northumberland,
individual are actually hybrids from this region. This is perhaps more likely
than an
unusually small, pale, male Eurasian Curlew.

In the near future, I shall write a detailed account of this occurrence and
redress the balance with the Northumberland claim. I must also thank Arnoud van
den Berg, Chris Heard and Ian Lewington for their kind input and discussion.
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Old Tuesday 5th October 2004, 15:51   #222
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OUTSTANDING!
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Old Tuesday 5th October 2004, 16:14   #223
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And this was my reply to the above comments by LGRE.

Im glad somebody has finally addressed this issue of a hybrid bird,
after my comments yesterday.

The Russian information is very interesting, do you have a source or
reference Lee so that others can also read about this issue? For
such an important statement (in regards to the conservation side
SBC), i assume these discoveries were published somewhere.

I am a little puzzled tho. The suggestion from the Russsian
scientists appears to be that hybridization between orientalis EC
and alboaxillaris Whimbrel is producing birds "INDISTINGUISHABLE"
from SBC. Were these birds trapped to confirm that they were indeed
hybrids (using biometrics or DNA samples)? Because if not, why were
they not SBC's? Furthermore, the suggestion seems to be that the
hybridization between orientalis x alboaxillaris is producing what
appears (for all intense and purpose) to be a third species. Does
this mean SBC may never have existed? I find the word
INDISTINGUISHABLE very strong. Are there other confirmed reports of
known hybrids between two species producing "INDISTINGUISHABLE" off-
spring resembling a third species? Not similar, but
indistinguishable?

There is no doubt that this information could explain the Minsmere
curlew, although it is strange that Didier has made no mention of
this work to anybody? What are his opinion?

As always with debatable birds, im open to opinion, and willing to
be educated, if someone can produce a sound reasoning. Although,
some birds, as we all know, may remain forever unidentified!
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Old Tuesday 5th October 2004, 16:21   #224
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Mmmm...I have to say that having watched the bird on Sunday, then come away and done a bit of research i`m not entirely convinced that the bird is a Slender-billed Curlew - something i`m entirely happy with, as before I went i considered the odds to be so overwhelmingly against two individual`s of a supposedly almost extinct species turning up on the East Coast of England....
Having said that I am most definately not happy with any explanation that invokes the dreaded Hybrid cop out....surely the last attempted explanation of the inexplicable!
Bear in mind (and i`m not stirring, as I am minded to agree with his underlying thoughts) that Lee Evans is not 100% unbiased on this - if the record of the Northumberland bird could be re-assessed in light of the new information gathered, that would vindicate Lee`s stance on the Northumberland bird...
I`d be more comfortable if someone could demonstrate that the bird is of a recognised race of Curlew (or even Whimbrel) or falls within the usual range of variation of Curlew before we start to invoke a
Quote:
mixed race of curlews (orientalis & alboaxillaris) INDISTINGUISHABLE in the field from what were previously described as
Slender-billed Curlews
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Old Tuesday 5th October 2004, 16:31   #225
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Quote:
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I`d be more comfortable if someone could demonstrate that the bird is of a recognised race of Curlew (or even Whimbrel) or falls within the usual range of variation of Curlew ...
...or genetic morph of EC or whimbrel??? None of my colleagues are happy with the hybrid idea either because ECs and whimbrels do not hybridise now.
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