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Square-tailed Kite?

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Old Saturday 7th March 2020, 21:59   #1
delia todd
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Square-tailed Kite?

Not a great picture but it was the only one I could get, thinking it's a Square-tailed Kite, which we saw in the Waychinicup NP.
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Old Saturday 7th March 2020, 22:38   #2
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Well the tail seems to match the tails on Square-tailed Kite images in Google.
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 00:44   #3
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Delia, I tried all sorts of lightening, and saturating, and I couldn't manage to pull a clear white face out of it, nor manage to see feet of any kind. I don't think I could isolate between Square-tailed Kite, or possible Little Eagle at this stage. Flight style would help with the STK appearing more 'floaty' ....
ebird was no help - no STK, and 1 LE ~10 years ago !
[EDIT]: 1 Swamp Harrier 3&1/2 years ago, with the following comment - "Probably the same bird I saw earlier at Cheyne Beach, a very dark individual."
https://ebird.org/hotspot/L2541767





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Last edited by Chosun Juan : Sunday 8th March 2020 at 11:05. Reason: [EDIT] - Swamp Harrier
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 03:17   #4
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Shape wrong for Square-tailed Kite, but a dark Little Eagle matches nicely
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 05:47   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sicklebill View Post
Shape wrong for Square-tailed Kite, but a dark Little Eagle matches nicely
I can only see five fingers in the hand.
Couldn't it be a Harrier, like what Swamp Harrier.
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 08:32   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
Delia, I tried all sorts of lightening, and saturating, and I couldn't manage to pull a clear white face out of it, nor manage to see feet of any kind.
Ditto - here's my best effort (if I can get it to load!). Pretty featureless.
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 09:10   #7
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Oh well!

Thanks for looking and trying guys - seems it'll have to be one that got away eh?
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 09:44   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean FRANCOIS View Post
I can only see five fingers in the hand.
Couldn't it be a Harrier, like what Swamp Harrier.
Jean
Then? Doesn't my remark inspire you?
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 09:55   #9
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Oooops sorry Jean..... your posts always inspire me!

I've been Googling away, trying to see if I could find them listed as being at that location but haven't found a Species List yet. My book shows that their range does cover that bit.

I'd love it to be a Swamp Harrier, as it would be the only one I saw on my holiday.
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 10:53   #10
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean FRANCOIS View Post
I can only see five fingers in the hand.
Couldn't it be a Harrier, like what Swamp Harrier.
Jean
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutcracker View Post
Ditto - here's my best effort (if I can get it to load!). Pretty featureless.
I think Swamp Harrier is a reasonable proposition too, though they have long yellow legs and large feet. Do you have a reference for the number of primary feathers? - a quick squizz at my books (Debus) didn't reveal any mention of it. Like Nutcracker's lightened photo I couldn't really make out any feet at all. I might also expect a Swamp Harrier to have longer fingered primaries (same with Square-tailed Kite).

My instant impression before even opening Delia's initial photo up was Little Eagle. I will lean that way, but it wouldn't surprise me if it turned out to be any of the 3. I can't pick it for sure from that photo.

Not sure what the camera settings were, but on long distance stuff like that it pays to make sure the exposure is set to Spot Metering, and even dial in some over-exposure if possible with these shadowed under wing shots.





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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 11:04   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delia todd View Post
Oooops sorry Jean..... your posts always inspire me!

I've been Googling away, trying to see if I could find them listed as being at that location but haven't found a Species List yet. My book shows that their range does cover that bit.

I'd love it to be a Swamp Harrier, as it would be the only one I saw on my holiday.
Delia - see my edited post#3 ..... does that location (Cheyne Beach) ring any bells?

Soz I couldn't be of more help - it's very annoying when you can't positively id things - even for spectators - lol. .:)





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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 11:44   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chosun Juan View Post
Delia - see my edited post#3 ..... does that location (Cheyne Beach) ring any bells?

Soz I couldn't be of more help - it's very annoying when you can't positively id things - even for spectators - lol. .:)





Chosun
Thanks Chosun. Yes... it does, we were up on the moorland above Cheynes Beach at this point.

Sorry for the quality of that picture. It was very distant, just a speck in the sky really. I just didn't have time for making any adjustments.
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 12:09   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delia todd View Post
Thanks Chosun. Yes... it does, we were up on the moorland above Cheynes Beach at this point.

Sorry for the quality of that picture. It was very distant, just a speck in the sky really. I just didn't have time for making any adjustments.
Some things are just beyond the limits of the camera carried !

If you managed to see the flight style, it might offer a better indicator:-

Little Eagle - mostly on flat wings, often circling tightly when not gliding.

Swamp Harrier - more often has a shallow V-shaped dihedral to the wings.

Square-tailed Kite - a similar shallow V-shaped dihedral, but usually with wrists forward, and appearing the most buoyant out of the 3.

It might pay to ask all your WA connections which one they think would be more likely in that type of environment, as there are probably a few unique differences in behaviour and huntung styles compared to over East.





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Last edited by Chosun Juan : Sunday 8th March 2020 at 22:56.
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 14:05   #14
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I think this is the page with bar charts for this place: https://ebird.org/barchart?r=L2541767&yr=all&m=

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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 14:45   #15
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I think this is the page with bar charts for this place: https://ebird.org/barchart?r=L2541767&yr=all&m=

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And in French, what's more!
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 14:55   #16
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Relying completely on google images I don't think it is a Square Tailed Kite (wings look very long (and "floppy") on images of those). Swamp Harrier looks possible, but I don't get a Harrier feeling from your pic, Delia. Little Eagle seems the best fit based on 'jizz' compared to photos to me, but I couldn't find an exact match for the wing position to make any sort of definite guess.

Have you tried the Merlin app with Australia 'pack'? It may bring up the same choices but might rule out 1 or more options.
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 14:57   #17
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Hi Barry. Thanks.

No, I've never used Merlin, think I've heard of it though
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 15:00   #18
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Much too broad-winged for a Merlin
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 15:01   #19
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And in French, what's more!
Jean
Jean,
language in ebird gets translated into the one chosen by the user as long as you are logged in. I see the same page in English (US) that you see in French - and if Delia is registered with Ebird, her spelling may very well come out as English (British).

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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 15:05   #20
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No, I've never used Merlin, think I've heard of it though
Worth downloading if your phone/tablet supports it. Can be handy for narrowing down all sorts of problem photos - though it does still struggle with some families, and coverage is increasing all the time. I've got most of the Northern Hemisphere packs installed - even though I'm unlikely to need them. Doubles as a handy reference 'book' too.

https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 15:06   #21
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Relying completely on google images I don't think it is a Square Tailed Kite (wings look very long (and "floppy") on images of those). Swamp Harrier looks possible, but I don't get a Harrier feeling from your pic, Delia. Little Eagle seems the best fit based on 'jizz' compared to photos to me, but I couldn't find an exact match for the wing position to make any sort of definite guess.

Have you tried the Merlin app with Australia 'pack'? It may bring up the same choices but might rule out 1 or more options.
I tried the app with no luck.

Niels
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Old Sunday 8th March 2020, 15:12   #22
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I also just looked at photos of the species proposed here, and the one I have the least problem fitting is little eagle. I am not convinced that a better photo would not show 6 primaries.

Niels
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Old Monday 9th March 2020, 03:06   #23
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Delia, if you heard any calls around when you saw the BOP, then the Little Eagle has a distinctive 3 note whistle - pretty much any number of whistles you like as long as it's a multiple of 3!

Usually given when they are doing swoop-de-doos :) however can be at other times (often accompanying an altitude change). Less often is a two note whistle, and I have only ever heard a single whistle once when the LE was starting an attack run on a flock of galahs .....

Here is a recording which may help:
https://ebird.org/species/liteag1





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Old Monday 9th March 2020, 07:02   #24
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I also just looked at photos of the species proposed here, and the one I have the least problem fitting is little eagle. I am not convinced that a better photo would not show 6 primaries.

Niels
I recognize that the morphology of the wing, regardless of the number of fingers, is more reminiscent of the eagle.
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