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3 Gulf Stream Pelagic birds between Bermuda and USA

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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 14:59   #26
Jane Turner
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the only thing that worries me is how plain the upperwing looks - hence the missing 5%
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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 16:05   #27
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Thanks Jane and Rockfowl .On #3 the bill, tail and overall stockiness does look very good for N. Fulmar , I will have to defer to your 95% certainty and agree . Once again the lighting was awkward on that photo. Thankyou for your help!

ps here's a N. Fulmar showing the similar white on head and uppertail, looks like our bird.
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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 16:51   #28
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I don't have any experience with Fulmars... but brown uppersides? OK call me out on "photo artifacts" but then what dictates that the head color is any more accurate? And Fulmar would be quite a rarity for that lattitude. The only Cory's I have seen from land were all quite distant but were distinct in large build, heavier flight, and back pattern, which involved a distinctly lighter head.

I'm also not sure how thoroughly Manx can be ruled out from #2. I don't think I would count anything from this set but Cory's Shear for any sort of list.
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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 17:14   #29
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I agree with Jane/Rockfowl, pic 3 does look like a fulmar to me too, general shape and colour looks good. It may be a bit out of range but sea birds wander widely, Seeing american birds on the east coast of England seems out of range but still happens!
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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 17:23   #30
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....And I'd be agreeing unfortunately that you wouldn't really want to be ticking these as life birds unless you actually feel you saw them well (ie better than the captures might indicate, which could quite possibly be the case?) and can marry your recollections of giss/ flight action etc of the birds seen with that of the actual species in question - possibly a bit difficult to do without seeing the species again with better/more prolonged views and more informed ideas of what to be looking for....

That's after you can be sure that you're happy that this is what they actually were (concensus almost reached!)

But listing ethics is another can of worms and ultimately up to you....
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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 17:27   #31
Jim M.
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I don't have any experience with Fulmars... but brown uppersides? OK call me out on "photo artifacts" but then what dictates that the head color is any more accurate? And Fulmar would be quite a rarity for that lattitude.
Fully agree. I think people are overestimating their abilities to identify birds from distant, blurry photographs.

And as for the supposed propensities of Fulmar to wander, apparently no one has told the Fulmar about this. More pelagic trips are made to the Gulf Stream off the coast of North Carolina-- which is approximately the latitude and location where this photo was taken -- than anywhere else on the Atlantic seaboard. Most of these are run by Brian Patteson. Looking at his trip reports for the past 15 years, the number of Northern Fulmar he has seen in June are exactly Zero. (http://www.patteson.com/). Similarly, a book written by a pelagic birder, Guide to the Offshore Wildlife of the Northern Atlantic by Michael Tove, provides frequency charts for pelagic birds for pelagic trips from areas up and down the Atlantic coast. For Hatteras, North Carolina, Northern Fulmar are indicated as being completely absent for June, July, and August.

Northern Fulmar certainly winter in these southern waters, and I have seen them off Delaware myself in February. But it is well documented that they spend summer elsewhere.

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Jim
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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 17:33   #32
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I'd agree with Cory's for no.1, but I'm not so sure how folk are ruling out Cory's caught at an odd angle for no.2 - bird looks to have an extensive dark head and neck (unless it's all shadow).

No.3 I'd agree with Jane & Rockfowl that it looks, based on that photo, like a fulmar structurally (and I know it'd be well out of range for the location), just worried that something odd's going on with the light on it. It too could be Cory's.

Just think 2 & 3 are not 100% identifiable from the pics.

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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 17:55   #33
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I'm not sure that the brownish, plain upperparts are that unusual, Fulmars are very variable, here for example a rather dusky one - http://ontfin.com/Word/wp-content/up...n_fulmar20.jpg and http://www.christinevadai.com/NOFU2.jpg
Irrespective of records, usual patterns, taking into account food source depletion etc , non-breeding Fulmars could turn up anywhere in the N.A, I'll stick with my initial thoughts.
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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 18:55   #34
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Irrespective of records, usual patterns, taking into account food source depletion etc , non-breeding Fulmars could turn up anywhere in the N.A, I'll stick with my initial thoughts.
Of course it's trivially true that, conceivably, any bird could turn up anywhere, and I'm not saying it can't be a Fulmar. Just saying that no way should anyone be accepting a seriously out of season bird based on a photo like this. Anyone submitting this photo (as their only evidence) to a records committee would be laughed out of the room.

As for your initial thoughts, I have no problem with them. You stated:

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Difficult with these shots but 2 looks to be a Puffinus sp. so maybe a Manx, odd rear end? The 3 looks like a Northern Fulmar. Could be wrong..
[emphasis added]

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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 19:19   #35
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Rare birds are .... rare. An out of range Fulmar, unprecedented in that region in that season would be an example of a rare bird then.....

But certainly not impossible or implausible, just because it hasn't happened before, and just as likely to be photographed by a non-expert.

But if there is some chance it could be a Cory's (or even something else) based on that one photograph, then obviously balance of probability lies in it being the far commoner species....

Anyway..... single photograph ids, don't we just love 'em?
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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 19:24   #36
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Actually Jim, I was more nervous about number 2.
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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 20:02   #37
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Likewise... if there were pale primary patch bases too, I'd put my mortgage on bird 3 being a fulmar... its way too stocky for a Cory's. I'm actually surprised its a rare bird in the area - out of territory birds are commonplace in May June here.... I recall seeing one going across the M62 at Saddleworth moor once - I even thought it was a Gyr falcon for a bit.

For the plumage not to photgraphic artefact, it would have to be an intermediate bired - a bit like this one

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3209/...f348c1.jpg?v=0
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Old Sunday 28th June 2009, 21:03   #38
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Photo 2 can't be a Great Shearwater, it looks like its got a clean white belly and underwings and got far too much black on the sides of its face, I'd go for a Manxie.

I can't make photo 3 in to a Fulmar, but can't make it in to anything else either.
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Old Monday 29th June 2009, 02:01   #39
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I am still debating as to which birds to actually add to my lifelist from this set.
I spent quite a bit of time with the bins on these birds but as you all know they are new to me and I had no experienced birders around to help.

As I was birding and before looking at the "snapshots" I was confident I was seeing Cory's and Greater/Manx Shearwaters. I realize photo 3 is a lost cause but I would like to get a more definite decision on bird #2... If possible . If not that's a bird for another day .

I have enjoyed the discussion and thankyou to all!
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Old Monday 29th June 2009, 07:31   #40
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I'd put my mortgage on bird 3 being a fulmar...
So you only requiire a subjective probability of 95% to bet your mortgage? That's the kind of thinking that got us into the worst financial crisis since the great depression.

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Old Monday 29th June 2009, 07:58   #41
Jim M.
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I am still debating as to which birds to actually add to my lifelist from this set.
I spent quite a bit of time with the bins on these birds but as you all know they are new to me and I had no experienced birders around to help.

As I was birding and before looking at the "snapshots" I was confident I was seeing Cory's and Greater/Manx Shearwaters. I realize photo 3 is a lost cause but I would like to get a more definite decision on bird #2... If possible .
I agree that Manx looks like a good fit for #2, but it is an uncommon bird in southern waters--probably the least common of the regularly occurring shearwaters, so I personally would be hesitant based on the photo alone. (As was suggested above, I'm not sure Cory's can be ruled out, for example). You may have seen more. Manx is referred to as one of the small "black and white" shearwaters, because that's how it looks at a distance. If your confident that's what you observed--a bird that was uniformly very dark above and smaller than a Cory's, then that might be enough.

By the way, why not go on a pelagic trip or two (dedicated pelagics will have very experienced birders to call the birds out for you), then all this will become academic?

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Jim
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Old Monday 29th June 2009, 09:32   #42
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I'm actually surprised its a rare bird in the area - out of territory birds are commonplace in May June here.... I recall seeing one going across the M62 at Saddleworth moor once - I even thought it was a Gyr falcon for a bit.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3209/...f348c1.jpg?v=0
?!?!
Why would their occurrence pattern at Hoylake be relevant to whether or not they're West of Bermuda at a given time of year?!
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Old Monday 29th June 2009, 09:42   #43
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I must admit I thought Nthn Fulmar for 3, when I first saw it, but, isn't the "pale head" a wave top behind the bird, therefor making the head much more "shearwater-y"? The general tone of the upperparts ( allowing for bleaching ) seems to point towards Cory's with the rather anomalous wing shape down to the angle of the bird when photographed.
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Old Monday 29th June 2009, 11:00   #44
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Jim this ocean teaser has sparked my interest in Paulagic birding . I plan on booking a ride with Paul Guris 'See Life Paulagics' in New Jersey someday down the road.I have read their fine reports.
http://www.paulagics.com/site/index....d=57&Itemid=79
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Old Tuesday 30th June 2009, 07:19   #45
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?!?!
Why would their occurrence pattern at Hoylake be relevant to whether or not they're West of Bermuda at a given time of year?!
Saddleworth moor is on the Yorkshire Lancs border, as far away from the sea as its possible to be at that latitude.... my point was they are notorious wanderers at that time of the year - its how they managed to colonise in the first place - not that long ago they only bred on St Kilda. They have a penchant for looking for new breeding areas in May!

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The history of these gull-like tube-noses, over the last 100 years, is quite amazing and very well documented. At the turn of the century some 20,000 pairs bred on St Kilda and had been there for centuries. Other sites were colonised from Foula in 1878 followed by the isolated islands of the Outer Hebrides, Shetland, Orkney and even the mainland at Clo Mor in Sutherland. These colonists are thought to have originated from the Icelandic population and not St Kilda where they were an important resource for the human population. The total outside St Kilda breeding in 1900 was in the low 100s and probably not as many as 500! Ireland was first colonised in Mayo in 1911, England (Yorkshire) in 1922 and Wales (Dyfed) in 1931. The current estimate for breeding pairs is 580,000 including 63,000 on the St Kilda group! We may confidently expect the figure to be higher for the current survey, Seabird 2000, since the population growth of at least 3-4% p.a. seems to be continuing.
And Jim - you managed to miss out the "if I could see pale bases to the primaries" in the sentence you quoted!
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